Cuts would force St. Louis Regional Airport to lose all air traffic controllers

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on February 28, 2013 at 11:31 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 1 at 7:37 AM

(KMOV.com) -- Friday, President Obama and Republicans will meet on the last possible day to avoid massive spending cuts by the federal government.

As a consequence of those cuts, Federal officials have targeted the control tower at the St. Louis Regional Airport in Bethalto for possible closure.

The Bethalto location is the only airport in the area facing cuts and officials are keeping their fingers crossed the spending cuts can still be stopped.

There are only five controllers that work at St. Louis Regional Airport, but the airport manager says losing them is a safety concern.

“The impact, it kind of becomes a risk management exercise,” said David Miller.

Miller feels so strongly about it, he wrote to one congressman saying cutting the controllers would dilute aviation safety at the airport; which borders neighborhoods on two sides.

If the tower controllers are gone, landing and taking off will be up to the pilots, who must announce their plans on the radio and hope any other pilots in the area hear it.

“You’ve got more airplanes flying in the blind making radio transmissions in the blind and not having that extra set of eyes and ears on ground with a radio to say we have traffic four o’clock, 200 feet below,” Miller said.

The airport moslty handles corporate jets and military aircraft, and Miller says losing the tower on April 1 will also likely hurt the airport economically as more pilots avoid it because of safety concerns.

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