Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

April 4, 2013

Spinks tower operations safe from cuts for now


Despite earlier threats that $85 billion in federal budget cuts forced by sequestration could cost Spinks Airport in Burleson its air traffic controllers, the airport’s air traffic control tower will remain open at least through the end of September, Airport Manager Aaron Barth said.

Spinks is one of five municipal airports in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex at which air traffic control towers had initially been targeted for closure due to Federal Aviation Administration cutbacks forced by sequestration.

But, Barth said, Spinks and Grand Prairie Municipal Airport will keep their air traffic controllers, thanks to a cost-share program in which the local airport pays about 20 percent of the costs for the controllers and the FAA pays the remaining amount.

Barth said that the cost-share program in which Spinks participates is a separate line-item expense in the FAA’s budget.

“It’s already been paid for through the end of the fiscal year. The FAA has already allocated the money to pay their portion for the air traffic controllers at Spinks, and we will just continue paying our portion each month as usual,” Barth said. “We don’t know right now what will happen after Sept. 30.”

Air traffic control towers at 13 other Texas airports will also likely remain open for now, thanks to a proposal last week by the aviation division of the Texas Department of Transportation to fund those towers. The air traffic control towers had been set to start closing on April 7.

The Texas Transportation Commission is holding an emergency meeting today in Austin to vote on the proposal for TxDOT to provide funding to keep air traffic controllers in place at the 13 airports. North and Northeast Texas airports included in the 13 are Dallas Executive Airport (formerly Redbird Airport), Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney, TSTC Waco and Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, according to a statement released by TxDOT.

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