Manhattan Mayor: Airport Tower Will Not Shut Down

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Manhattan Mayor Loren Pepperd says the city will do whatever it takes to keep the airport's air traffic control tower operational.

The control tower at Manhattan Regional Airport is one of five scheduled to be closed in Kansas because of federal budget cuts. The others are in Hutchinson, Topeka and two airports in Olathe. Funding from the FAA is slated to stop on April 7, 2013.

Pepperd says the tower will not shut down and that the city will step in to fund it temporarily and will work to find permanent funding.

“There will be no change in personnel or duties. The same controllers will be working there just as they were prior to sequestration. The tower is not going to close,” the mayor said.

Leftover funds in the city budget will be used to fund the tower through the end of the fiscal year in September.

Officials will work with the government and other sources to find local, state and federal funding to keep tower operations going.

Pepperd says Manhattan has too much invested in its airport for the tower to close. A massive terminal expansion is in the works and the city is going after another airline to fly other routes, he told WIBW.