Airport Control Towers At Risk
The FAA has announced the closing of towers at 149 airports across the country. These are not the 149 smallest airports or the 149 with the lowest activity. My airport, Central Illinois Regional Airport, is on the list, and it has the highest passenger traffic of any airport in downstate Illinois. So why are we closing? Apparently, mostly because our tower is staffed by contract workers instead of FAA employees. No tower staffed by government employees is being closed, but 60% of the towers run by contractors are. That's not because the contract towers cost more. As a matter of fact, they cost the government significantly less. According to http://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/dot/files/FAA%20Federal%20Contract%20Tower%..., the contract towers cost "on average $1.5 million less to operate". So this is not the plan that would have saved the most money, that plan would have shut only airports run by government employees.
So why is my airport losing funding for it's control towers? You tell me. It's the busiest airport in downstate Illinois and based on that FAA document it must have cost the government significantly less to run than the government-run airports that were left alone.
This plan makes no sense. It will disrupt my life (I fly fairly frequently) along with the lives of thousands of people who use this airport. It will have a huge economic impact on my community, and it didn't accomplish the goal of cutting spending in any rational way.
I've pulled together some information about these airport closings with a page for each airport that is affected. I'm hoping to collect information about each of them and compare them to the airports that were untouched in an effort to understand what is going on and hopefully to reverse this bad decision.