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Sequestration may shut down control tower at Tacoma Narrows Airport

Post by Steve Maynard / The News Tribune on March 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm with 4 Comments »
March 6, 2013 5:04 pm

The control tower at Tacoma Narrows Airport near Gig Harbor might close due to Federal Aviation Administration budget cuts caused by sequestration.

The FAA is reviewing its list of tower closures and could reconsider those “where the national interest would be adversely affected.” A final decision is due by March 18.

If its tower closes, Tacoma Narrows Airport would remain open with pilots using “well-defined procedures applicable at all airports without an operating control tower,” according to Pierce County.

Here’s today’s news release from Pierce County:

Sequestration may close FAA contract control tower at Tacoma Narrows Airport

The Federal Aviation Administration’s contract control tower at the Tacoma Narrows Airport in Gig Harbor may close as the FAA implements the budget sequestration. This proposed tower closure is one of many that could occur at airports around the country.

“Between now and March 13, 2013, the FAA is reviewing its list of locations where it plans to discontinue air traffic control services to identify locations where the national interest would be adversely affected by tower closure,” according to a March 5 letter from the FAA to Pierce County, which operates the airport.

The FAA will consider information until March 13 on how these proposed tower closures would negatively impact the national interest. Submissions may be sent to ATO-Terminal Services at ClosureComments@faa.gov or by fax to (202) 493-4565. The FAA plans to finalize its list of facility closures by March 18.

The letter adds that while the timing of this action is driven by sequestration, similar reductions may be needed in the future due to budget pressure.

Tacoma Narrows Airport will remain open if the FAA contract tower closes. Instead of having tower controllers directing air traffic, pilots would use well-defined procedures applicable at all airports without an operating control tower. These standard procedures are already in use between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. at the Tacoma Narrows Airport, and 24-hours a day at Pierce County Airport-Thun Field, which is also operated by Pierce County and has never had a control tower.

“We value having the FAA’s contract tower onsite for our pilots, and hope that it continues this important operation,” said Deb Wallace, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities airport and ferry administrator. “The decision to close the tower is not yet final, and Pierce County will advocate for the tower to remain open.”

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. fstatler says:

    Fine with me.

    If they want a control tower, the pilots can pay for it.

  2. nwcolorist2 says:

    I wonder how long Obama is going to hold the public hostage to these sequester threats.

  3. BigBlockChev says:

    Who would ever know? There is so little traffic out there they can’t even keep a small restaurant in business. Any pilot knows how to self-traffic at low volume airports – it’s called a radio.

    The real joke at Tacoma Narrows is the complete waste of the “tunnel” they demanded on Stone Drive for extra airport “cars zone”! About 100 yards long this hideous waste of tax dollars has 300 – that’s right 300 – lights inside that are electronically controlled to mimic ambient light levels….in a “tunnel” where you can see end to end! It also boasts large electronic warning signs at each end to warn if the “tunnel” is blocked?!? I guess those are for blind people that can’t tell just by looking!

    Then some bureaucrat dolt added fire hoses throughout the tunnel and huge air fans…as if anyone would use them rather than simply walking 5 seconds to get out of the tunnel! What a joke – except it’s our money!

    Then to top it off, there are cameras everywhere monitoring the “tunnel”…which begs the question WHO is watching and how much are they getting paid???

    Of course, the Tribune would never see fit to expose this poster child if waste and abuse! Sequester that! Nor would the Tribune document the nightly debacle exiting I-5 to Hwy 16….the nightmare brought to you by WSDOT. But closing the tower at an airport no one uses….oh, the horror!

    Look for this article to disappear in about 3 minutes…

  4. ccitizen60 says:

    Good, why should taxpayers pay for the service. The people using it should pay for it. In fact why aren’t all air control towers operated privately? No doubt they’d be less costly and have up to date technology if they were.

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