Two Topeka Air Traffic Control Towers May Close Due To Sequester

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-The FAA has plans to shut down 179 air traffic control towers in 42 states, including Topeka's Billard and Forbes air traffic facilities.

If no help comes, the Topeka towers would shutdown April 7th. Billard Municipal Airport Director of Aviation, Ed Young, says a shut down will create a impact locally.

"The problem is the system impact. I think everybody who flies period is going to see that system impact," said Young.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran is in Washington, trying to save the Topeka towers, as well as the one in Manhattan. He says it's a major safety issue.

"Once there is an accident and somebody dies and a plane crashed, the question will always be what if there had been an air traffic control tower there? What if we had left the program in place?" said Senator Moran.

Senator Moran is also proposing to not use the $50 million set aside for FAA to research and instead keep the towers in operation.

"Prove your point in the argument, and debate about merits of spending. Prove your point in the appropriations committee where we take testimony and hear from people about what has value and what doesn't," said Senator Moran.

If the Forbes tower is shutdown, the 190th Air Refueling Wing would likely have to stop using the airport. And it could also cause the 190th a bid to house the new KC-46A next generation refueling aircraft.

"While we think we can get by, it's a scary situation and we are concerned," said Young.

Young says there are 137 Kansas airports without towers but Forbes and Billard are more complex to navigate which makes the loss of the towers a big one. The official list of tower closings is expected to come Friday.


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