Monday, July 28, 2014

Airport tower closures canceled

By The Herald Staff | 5/10/2013

“Common sense prevailed over politics,” Jerry Moran said Friday.

The U.S. senator and Congressional allies celebrated Friday as the Federal Aviation Administration announce it planned to cancel the scheduled closure of 149 airport control towers — including two in nearby Johnson County. The move came after Moran, R-Kan., and other lawmakers passed a bipartisan bill directing the FAA to find savings elsewhere in its budget rather than target control towers for closure and air traffic controllers for furloughs.

“Common sense prevailed over politics,” Jerry Moran said Friday.

The U.S. senator and Congressional allies celebrated Friday as the Federal Aviation Administration announce it planned to cancel the scheduled closure of 149 airport control towers — including two in nearby Johnson County. The move came after Moran, R-Kan., and other lawmakers passed a bipartisan bill directing the FAA to find savings elsewhere in its budget rather than target control towers for closure and air traffic controllers for furloughs.

“This victory is thanks to a bipartisan coalition of Senators and Congressmen and women who came together to demonstrate that there are more responsible ways to cut spending than by compromising safety,” Moran said.

Towers that had been slated for closure in Kansas included those at New Century AirCenter in Olathe, Johnson County Executive Airport in Olathe, Philip Billard Municipal Airport in Topeka, Hutchinson Municipal Airport in Hutchinson and Manhattan Regional Airport in Manhattan.

Dodson International Parts, Inc., which is based in Rantoul, acts as a fixed-based operator for Johnson County’s New Century AirCenter, providing it such aeronautical services as fueling, maintenance, aircraft rentals and sales. Owner JR Dodson said in March that he agreed with Moran’s sentiments that closing the towers would jeopardize air traffic safety.

“Would traffic still function? Yes. But would it be as safe? Probably not,” Dodson said.

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