One-Month Reprieve Granted to Small Airport Control Towers

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The Federal Aviation Administration has given a reprieve—albeit a brief one—to 149 airports, including four in Idaho, in an attempt to keep the airports' control towers open. The FAA said the delay will allow it more time to prepare responses to the multitude of lawsuits brought by small airports throughout the nation in the wake of a sequester-driven shutdown.

On March 27, officials at Hailey's Friedman Memorial Airport said they were prepared to file a lawsuit to keep operations going. Friedman is one of four Idaho airports—including airports in Lewiston, Idaho Falls and Pocatello—that are on a list of 149 air traffic towers slated to be shut down in early May due to the federal funding sequestration gridlock.

On April 5, the FAA said it would delay any closure until June 15 in an "attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges."

"This has been a complex process, and we need to get this right," said Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary. "We will use this additional time to make sure communities and pilots understand the changes at their local airports."

The cuts were expected to affect airports with fewer than 150,000 flights per year and fewer than 10,000 commercial flights.

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