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Sequester Cuts Could Impact Local Airports

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By Brandon Redmond

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) As sequester related cuts start to take effect, some of those cuts could impact airports across Idaho including the Magic Valley Regional Airport. Airport Manager Bill Carberry spoke with the air traffic control manager last week to hear about the potential effects.

"He's told me that this particular tower, they're not looking at any imminent closures in the near term. But they may be looking at some staff reduction, some furloughs one day per pay period," said Airport Manager Bill Carberry.

It is possible that the air traffic control tower could be closed in the future. The question is if the tower does close, how would that impact services at the airport?

"If they were looking at something like that, perhaps next year or sometime in the future, as far as the closure of this particular tower, there are many airports that operate without a tower. Airlines operate into communities that don't have control towers, so there would be no real impact to the airlines. I think they would still operate as usual," said Bill Carberry.

Airport Officials tell us that even if the air traffic control tower is closed in the future, services and safety here at the Magic Valley Airport would be unaffected.

"Well typically local air traffic control works when there is not a tower is that pilots use a common frequency and they sequence themselves in for take offs and landings. So it's used very effectively and there is a very strict protocol on how they operate like that," said Bill Carberry.

But some politicians are skeptical of the extreme cuts being set forth by the president's administration.

"They put out a message from the White House that said they were going to close all control towers in the State of Idaho except the one in Boise. Keep in mind that this 2.4% rollback only takes you back to 2009. Now in 2009, they were able to have all of the control towers open. How in the world can they say now they can't operate it when they have a 2009 funding level," said United States Senator Jim Risch.

Tower or no tower, services should continue as normal at the magic valley regional airport.


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