The air traffic control towers at the airports in Rome and Ithaca, NY are going to be shut down by the FAA because of the sequester. They want us to believe that they couldn’t find a way to cut $600 million out of their $58 billion (with a b) budget.
The agency says towers at Ithaca Regional airport and Griffiss International in Rome will be closed starting April 7. The FAA is closing 149 towers nationwide.
Towers at two other airports in New York, Francis S. Gabreski at Westhampton Beach and Niagara Falls International, were on the preliminary closure list but will stay open.
Pilots flying into and out of these airports will have to coordinate landings and takeoffs over the radio. I suppose that’s possible but it certainly doesn’t sound as safe as having air traffic controllers.
When you scan down the list of closures, these are all towers which are managed and staffed by private contractors. Not one of them is staffed up by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association union. That’s something of a remarkable coincidence, isn’t it? Maybe not.
No FAA air-traffic facilities will be shut down for at least a year, Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association union, said in an e-mailed statement.
The FAA’s union contract requires that controllers get at least a year’s notice before a facility is closed, Church said. The agency Feb. 22 issued a list of 49 FAA towers that were subject to closing in addition to the private towers. (Read More)
The union workers will be forced to take off one day without pay every two weeks, which spreads the pain around a little but their jobs and their towers aren’t going away. And leave it to public sector unions to find a way to wring a silver (or green) lining out of any dark cloud. Assume there is some sort of public outcry this year after a couple of regional jets clip wings on the runways of some municipal airports. At that point, Washington gets the excuse they need to staff at least some of the towers back up. Will they go back to the private contractors, or will the unions move in with their “much more efficient” practices?
I guess we’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime the politicians and bureaucrats are people’s lives in danger to make a political point. They couldn’t stoop any lower if they tried.