On the 7th of April the FAA begins the closure of 149 contracted air traffic control towers as listed here by the FAA. The question is raised,”will this mean the closure of the airports?” The answer is “most likely not.” Many airports around the world do not have air traffic control towers. I personally have flown into several such airports while a passenger on a major airline’s plane. The plane I rode on landed safely. It also took off safely. I am alive today.
It is sad that individuals, from management to workers, are losing their jobs. It is sad that their families will suffer. It will be a challenge for the different communities to run their respective airports. It will be extra work for the nearest large airport control towers as they try to help the smaller airports get by. Can it be done? Yes people will eventually find other places of employment, families will tighten their belts and some will have to move to where there is available work. Small airports will learn to function without an FAA Federal contract tower in operation. Pilots will learn to land and take off without the tower to guide them. The larger airports will juggle the increased work load somehow. So the sky is not falling.
As an individual sits down to figure out a budget the decision to spend less in order to decrease debt means going without some things. This is a necessary part of reducing debt…. a decrease in spending. This is nothing more or less. The government must reassess cost effectiveness. Perhaps these airports do not warrant the spending of tax dollars to service six or seven commercial airplanes flying in and out per day. So now the towers are being closed to save money. The fact is that not all airports need Air Traffic Controllers. The ones that do will most likely continue to receive those services.
These towns hosting airports with the 149 contracted air traffic control towers being closed will not necessitate the closer of their airport. Most aircraft can land without an air traffic controllers help. The FAA has had long lasting guidelines in place for handling such airports. Some of their guidelines can be found at this site
and it clearly shows that pilots are trained to land and take off in such an environment using the appropriate radio band to communicate with each other. If they need assistance they can contact other FAA towers in neighboring cities. A Contract Tower costs about $537,000 to operate for a year on average. However the value of a human life is priceless. Just as when a family in order to reduce spending has to choose a compact car over a Cadillac (even though the death rate is much higher in a compact car than in a Cadillac) in order to have less debt will take the added risk, so does our government have to make reduction choices which may increase risk.
While the whole country is now being required to tighten their belt and get by with less it would be prudent for our President and his family to reduce their spending on such things as golfing and travel. Most American families have had to give up going to the golf course and taking extravagant vacations while the first family continues to spend millions of dollars upon themselves. Perhaps when the first planes collide in midair it will be well for the country to remember this fact instead of blaming the republicans and the sequester. We must not fear the reducing of government spending.