Airport tower closing could come soon
The control tower at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport near Latrobe may close as early as April 7 because of a cutback in federal funds that will shutter 149 control towers at regional airports throughout the nation, the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday.
The Westmoreland County Airport Authority and Spirit Airlines, the airport's lone scheduled airline, had previously announced that the airport would remain open if the control tower closes.
Gabe Monzo, executive director of the airport authority, could not be reached for comment Friday.
Misty Pinson, a spokeswoman for Spirit Airlines, which offers flights from the airport in Unity to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., could not be reached for comment.
The control towers being closed are operated under federal contracts. At Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Midwest Air Traffic Control of Overland, Kan., has five employees operating the tower. Midwest has not been told when the local control tower will close, said Bill Ellis, vice president of aviation services for Midwest, which operates 86 towers. The contractors operating the control towers are scheduled to have a conference call with the FAA on Monday, when they hope to learn the schedule for closing the control towers, Ellis said.
The agency in March had proposed closing 189 air traffic control towers operated under federal contracts as part of the FAA's plan to cut $637 million required under budget sequestration. Based on the airport authority's budget, it costs the federal government $21,000 to operate the tower in Unity.
In order to remain open, the airport would have needed 150,000 flights in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, but it had only 30,000. The tower could have remained open if it were deemed to be in the nation's best interest, such as having an adverse impact on multistate transportation, communication or banking.
Monzo said previously that planes landing at the airport near Latrobe will receive air traffic control services from the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, and from the Cleveland airport when the Johnstown control tower closes in the evenings.
The FAA said it will work with the airports and the operators to ensure the procedures are in place to maintain the high level of safety at non-towered airports.
Only 500 of the nation's 20,500 airports have control towers, the agency said.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Forbes: Night at the Races planned at sportsmen’s club
- Westmoreland County tourism grants promote banana splits, breweries, trolley, railroad
- Laurel Mountain Ski Resort discusses planned revival
- Blaze guts South Greensburg home, kills 2 dogs
- Hempfield infant fights rare disease
- Foreign clergy mitigate shortage of priests in Diocese of Greensburg
- Ligonier doctor’s appeal to practice rejected
- Dog found shot dead in cardboard box in Derry Township
- Mt. Pleasant’s background colored by entrepreneurial spirit
- Westmoreland judge offers Court in the Classroom
- Unity man’s bar pays homage to Latrobe’s Rolling Rock