Control towers face closure as budget cuts loom

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Several smaller airports around Indiana could feel the pinch if federal budget cuts take effect Friday.

Control towers at airports in Bloomington, Columbus, Gary, Muncie, Terre Haute and West Lafayette could close as soon as Friday as a result off federal sequestration. According to documents from the Federal Aviation Administration, the agency would have to eliminate $600 million in expenditures.

According to the Times of Northwest Indiana, the Gary-Chicago International Airport will remain open if the cuts go into effect. Airplanes would have to follow procedures for landing with a control tower. Other airports plan to explore alternatives to keep the towers open.

Other proposed changes include furloughs for most of the FAA’s 47,000 employees. Those would include one day per pay period until the end of September. The agency would also eliminate midnight shifts at certain airports, including facilities in Fort Wayne and Terre Haute.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has already said that travelers should expect delays due to the employee furloughs and other changes.

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