Local air traffic towers face closure

March 7, 2013

The regional airports in Ithaca and Binghamton would both lose their air traffic controllers if the cuts, known as sequestration, take full effect. The first round of closures begins April 7th. The airports in that group, which includes Ithaca Tompkins Regional airport, staff their towers with private contractors.

According to Ithaca Tompkins Regional airport manager Bob Nicholas air traffic control closures won't cause a safety issue. He says the workload would shift to the regional FAA tower in Elmira.

Carl Beardsley is the commissioner of aviation at the Greater Binghamton airport. Beardsley says the closures would mostly result in inconvenience for travelers.

"Aircraft could land and take off safely but it would be would take much longer, be far less efficient and be done with less speed."

The Binghamton airport uses FAA traffic controllers and their tower wouldn¿t close until September.

The tower closures could still be avoided if lawmakers can reach an agreement  on funding before the scheduled March 27th government shutdown.