Decatur Airport handles sequestration cuts

The director of the Decatur Airport says the loss of their air traffic control tower staff will affect airport operations, but not flight safety.

Decatur Airport is one of 149 airports across the country, where the Federal Aviation Administration last week announced plans to lay off contract air traffic control workers, due to sequestration cuts.

Airport Director Joe Attwood says they’ll continue to operate, by having pilots coordinate their takeoffs and landings among themselves --- as is done at many small airports. He says the only other option would be to pay the air traffic control workers themselves.

“The opportunity is present to self-fund the operation. And we’re looking at all the options related to that. But on the other hand, that is a 4 to 6-hundred thousand dollar expense, and one that we’re not prepared at this point to agree to undertake,” says Attwood.

Attwood says Decatur Airport handles about 30 flights a day. In contrast, officials at Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington say they believe their flight schedule is too busy to bear the loss of air traffic control workers. They’ve said they plan to find a way to keep their air traffic control tower open.