Budget cuts close down 149 air traffic towers in the US


US budget cuts have meant the closure of 149 air traffic towers. Critics are concerned about the safety implications of such a move.


Jim Watson

Recent US budget cuts have forced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to close 149 air traffic towers around the country.

The closures will mainly affect small airports, with none expected to shut down because of the cuts.

Indeed, the cuts will affect airports with less than 150,000 flights per year and fewer than 10,000 commercial flights.

The cuts in air traffic towers will begin early next month.

“We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers, and these were very tough decisions,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

“Unfortunately, we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration.”

More from GlobalPost: U.S. House averts government shutdown, backs Ryan budget

Safety has clearly been a concern as pilots will be forced to coordinate their own take-offs and landings.

"We will work with the airports and the operators to ensure the procedures are in place to maintain the high level of safety at non-towered airports," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in a statement.