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FAA May Close Oxford Airport Air Traffic Control Tower

As part of a goal to cut $600 million in costs during 2013 because of federal budget Sequestration, the FAA is making plans to close towers in Oxford, Danbury, Groton, New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford.

 

Waterbury-Oxford Airport's air traffic control tower is scheduled to close in April along with five other airport towers in Connecticut because of the federal budget impasse. 

The Federal Secretary of Transportation sent letters on Feb. 22 to airports, trade associations and others saying the sequestration (partial government shutdown) will also lead to longer flight times because of fewer air traffic controllers.

"Flights to major cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco could experience delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours because we will have fewer controllers on staff," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote to the Department of Defense, Airlines for America, the National Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, among others. 

The Danbury Air Traffic Control Tower employs six people. In his letter, LaHood wrote the agency will have to cut $600 million because of the sequestration, and that may mean closing 100 air traffic control towers nationwide.

The smaller airports will lose their towers, those airports with fewer than 150,000 take-offs and landings a year. It will also lead to furloughs for 47,000 FAA employees of one day per pay period, but up to as many as two days per pay period between April and September.

"We also expect that as airlines estimate the potential impacts of these furloughs, they will change their schedules and cancel flights," LaHood wrote.

Danbury Airport Administrator Paul Estefan said Danbury has about 80,000 take-offs and landings a year, which means the Danbury tower is likely to close in April when the FAA sets a closure date.

LaHood's letter includes a list of all the airports likely to lose their air traffic control towers in April. In Connecticut, those are Waterbury-Oxford in Oxford, Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford, Danbury Municipal Airport, Groton-New London Airport in Groton (New London,) Hartford-Brainard in Hartford and Tweed New Haven in New Haven.

"If they can't resolve the budget, I guess that's the game plan," Estefan said. "The real question is after the sequestration, will they bring them back and how long will that take?"

Tony Partsch February 24, 2013 at 01:24 PM
why don't we get rid of all the crooks and thiefs in the government and then maybe we would not have all these budget cut the government says we need jobs but who's the one cutting jobs the goverment
CTYankee February 24, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Damnable idiots in Washington! All the cuts they're putting out in the news are the ones designed to be the most visible, the most obnoxious, to raise the most ire in the public opinion.
Elena Bowen February 24, 2013 at 07:59 PM
This is sad and unacceptable. We keep paying more and more for what?? Congress & Senate need to change. How did they get raises?
Ray Sullivan February 25, 2013 at 03:33 PM
This is all part of a plan issued to all federal agencies by the present administration to put pressure on a Republican Congress to cow-tow to their every whim and desire to spend more and waste more on a populace which only wants more and more from the Government. In the 1920s they called it Marxism!
bob March 07, 2013 at 01:45 AM
President Obama seems to be literally holding America hostage by selecting the most pain-inflicting cuts. The $85 billion reduction represents a 2% cut in projected rates of growth and does not even touch existing line items. What he is doing is contrary to the interests of this country and worthy of his immediate removal from office.

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