The Federal Aviation Administration will keep contractor-operated air traffic control towers at 149 airports open until June 15 as the agency is handling legal challenges from airports against closing the towers
Closures were scheduled to start Sunday as part of the agency’s efforts to cut $637 million from its budget by September under sequestration, the agency said Friday.
“We will use this additional time to make sure communities and pilots understand the changes at their local airports,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.
The agency originally planned to close the towers through a phased, four-week process but will now stop funding all of the 149 towers June 15.
Airports may decide to continue operating the towers as nonfederal contract towers, the agency said.
The FAA said 50 airport authorities and other stakeholders have indicated that they plan to fund tower operations themselves under the agency’s non-federal contract tower program.