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Tyler airport could lose funding for air traffic control tower


POSTED: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 10:47pm

UPDATED: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 10:41am

Twenty-five Texas airports could face major cuts by the end of the week.

The reason is the sequestration.

One of those airports, is Tyler-Pounds Regional.

If these cuts do go into affect, the funding for the air traffic control tower will be cut.

That in turn will cause airport delays, and according some businesses owners, a cut back in the local economy.

The air traffic control tower operator is the first one pilots call as they prepare to land at any airport.on the runway.

Mark Leathers is pilot from Austin who has been using the Jet Center of Tyler for nearly a decade.

He says, if that tower is no longer operational, it will force many pilots to find other stops.

If the military, and other aircraft decide not to stop in Tyler because of the sequester, it will have a chain reaction in East Texas.

But among air traffic delays, Randa Conner from the Jet Center of Tyler feels it will increase the possibility of major accidents on the runway.

But no matter what decision is made, officials at Tyler-Pounds say the airport will remain open.

The city of Tyler has already sent a letter to Washington, making the case why the Tyler-Pounds control tower should not lose funding, and why the airport is a big part of not just East Texas travelers, but travel across the state, and the country.

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As a former Air Traffic Controller at Pounds, it pains me to see the city of Tyler get caught in this situation. This could have been avoided if the city had simply taken over the tower when the FAA pulled it's controllers out and contracted it out. The ATC personnel at Pounds are civilian contract controllers. They could be hired by the city. Other cities have done this. Rather than whine about lost revenue, Why doesn't the City of Tyler step up to the plate, take over this tower.

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