Mar 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - The Federal Aviation Administration has officially placed the St. Cloud Regional Airport's air traffic control tower on the list of those slated for closure - but St. Cloud mayor Dave Kleis says, this will not impact air travel to and from the St. Cloud area.
The plan to close 189 towers around the United States was designed earlier this month. The FAA reports that 149 of those, including the tower in St. Cloud, are now to begin a phase-out process on April 7th.
Mayor Kleis spoke with KNSI News on Friday afternoon while en route back from Washington D.C., where he has been discussing the issue with lawmakers. He says, while it is a disappointment to lose the tower, pilots are well-trained to land planes without air-traffic control towers.
"It's definitely a safety measure," Kleis says. "Especially in times of heavy air traffic or poor weather. But pilots are equipped to land and take off safely in the event that there isn't a tower."
Kleis says the lawmakers with whom he's met are very supportive of helping the St. Cloud Area secure the necessary funding to reestablish the tower after the budget cycle ends.
Kleis adds - the closing of the tower should not affect St. Cloud Regional Airport's quest for daily flights to and from Chicago. "Airlines understand the issue," he says.
The closures are part of an effort to meet the $637 million in budget cuts required as a result of sequestration.