The Federal Aviation Administration issued the final list Friday of 149 contract towers that will be forced to close across the country beginning on April 7 as a result of sequestration.
The North Central West Virginia Airport was originally named on the list of towers that would be slated for closure but the FAA determined it and 23 other towers would stay open because of national security concerns. "So far it's good news I don't think we're out of the woods yet. They dealt with the contract towers. They closed 149 of those. But as an FAA staffed tower, we're certainly, we probably have a fight ahead of us," said Rick Rock, airport director. Rock said the tower employs 24 people and indirectly employs 1,300 people.
Controllers at contract towers perform a host of important functions, including separating aircraft; issuing safety and weather alerts; and assisting with military, emergency response, and medical flights. The controllers at these facilities are highly trained professionals, and their presence at control towers has been a high priority for the FAA and for local communities for decades, according to a news release from the American Association of Airport Executives.
Other West Virginia towers that are on the list slated for closure include Wheeling, Parkersburg, and Lewisburg.