NEW INFO: Greenbrier Airport Agency to Join Suit Against FAA

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 4/16/13 @ 11:40 a.m.
MAXWELTON, W.Va. (AP) -- The Greenbrier County Airport Authority plans to participate in a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration.

The lawsuit is one of several filed by airport operators in other states challenging the FAA's decision to close control towers at 149 small airports.

The Associated Press reports that members of the Greenbrier County authority voted unanimously Monday to join one of the lawsuits.

Authority member Betty Crookshanks says the move would show that people are concerned about the planned closures.

Earlier this month, the FAA announced that the closures will be delayed until June 15 because it needs more time to deal with the legal challenges.

Control towers at airports in Parkersburg and Wheeling also are on the closure list.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- In preparation for the possibility of a budget sequestration on March 1, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced possible cuts this week. And while those cuts may impact the airports in our area, flights aren't expected to be affected.

If the sequestration does happen, the FAA is considering:
1. Furlough the vast majority of the FAA's nearly 47,000 employees (including all management and non-management employees working within the Air Traffic Organization) for approximately one day per pay period until the end of the fiscal year in September, with a maximum of two days per pay period.
2. Eliminate midnight shifts in over 60 towers across the country
3. Close over 100 air traffic control towers at airports with fewer than 150,000 flight operations of 10,000 commercial operations per year.
4. Reduce preventive maintenance and equipment provisioning and support for all NAS equipment.

The FAA has released a list of facilities where overnight shifts could be eliminated. The towers at Huntington Tri-State Airport and Yeager Airport in Charleston are both on that list.

The FAA has also released a list of air traffic control facilities that could be closed. Huntington Tri-State Airport is also on that list.

If these cuts do kick in, the airports will not be closing, only their control towers.

Jerry Brienza with Huntington Tri-State Aiport tells that if everything comes to fruition and the tower closes, flights would still come in and go out of the airport. He says flights should not be impacted.

Brienza says the difference will be that instead of there being a controller on site, flights would be guided through a larger airport, like Indianapolis.

In a press release from the FAA, they announced that because of employee furloughs, passengers flying to major cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco could experiences delays.

Brienza tells that since Tri-State Airport is smaller, passengers likely wouldn't experience the delays that would occur in the larger airports.

Brienza says they are still working with the congressional delegation to avert the cuts.

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