FAA to delay 149 airport tower closures until mid-June to deal with legal challenges

  • Article by: JOAN LOWY , Associated Press
  • Updated: April 5, 2013 - 1:35 PM

From the airport tower, a pair of air traffic controller monitor and direct takeoffs and landings from the Anoka County-Blaine Airport, which has 400 based aircraft and two 5,000 foot runways. The airport had 80,000 operations last year.

Photo: Joles, David, Star Tribune

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WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is delaying the closing of 149 airport control towers until mid-June in order to deal with legal challenges.

The first 24 closures had been scheduled for Sunday.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday the closures will be delayed until June 15. Trade groups representing companies that operate the towers under contract for FAA filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Washington.

The agency says about 50 airport operators and communities have also indicated they may want to pay for operation of the towers themselves, and more time is needed to work out those details.

FAA has previously said the closures are necessary to accommodate automatic spending cuts.

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