Federal transportation officials say they don't have the money to keep close tabs on air traffic controllers around the nation. The report comes as the FAA gets ready to close nearly 250 airport towers and have its roughly 15-thousand controllers take furlough days due to sequestration cuts. There is a possibility those cuts could mean the control tower at St. Louis Regional Airport in Bethalto would be closed, but there is reason for optimism, according to Airport Manager David Miller.
He says they often operate in a support role for the region.
He says if these control towers around the country are closed, it would be difficult, but not impossible, to continue operations. He likens it to when the lights go out at a signaled intersection, with the drivers having to coordinate as to who's turn it is. Likewise, pilots would have to coordinate landings and take-offs through their communications systems. The FAA is allowing appeals of the decision through March 13th, and will finalize the closings by March 18th.