The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to delay the closing of 149 airport control towers until mid-June.
The Obama administration said it needed to cut funding for the towers — mostly in small communities — because of $637 million in budget cuts mandated by law.
“This additional time will allow the agency to attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions,” the FAA said in a statement. “Extending the transition deadline will give the FAA and airports more time to execute the changes to the National Airspace System.”
The AP reports that “trade groups representing companies that operate the towers under contract for FAA filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Washington.” The first 24 closures, adds the AP, were scheduled to take effect on Sunday.
Our friends at It’s All Politics have a round-up of all the effects the sequester is having on different aspects of the government.
“This has been a complex process and we need to get this right,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “Safety is our top priority. We will use this additional time to make sure communities and pilots understand the changes at their local airports.”