Boise TRACON Closure Looms

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Idaho politicians and the controllers' union claim the FAA is trying to rush through the planned closure of the Boise TRACON before a new FAA reauthorization package prevents such closures. According to the Idaho Statesman a local FAA official has confirmed TRACON functions will be transferred to Salt Lake City despite a call by the Idaho delegation in Congress to examine the motive behind the move. The FAA claims the move will save the agency about $1 million a year but the politicians want to have that claim audited. They reportedly had assurance from the FAA that the move would be postponed until the figures were analyzed. Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told the paper the move is strategic on the part of the FAA. "They're playing beat the clock," Church said. "They want to act before Congress steps in and includes language in the reauthorization bill that would put a stop to what they're doing in places like Boise." He also said the move is in defiance of testimony given by the FAA's Chief Operating Officer for the Air Traffic Organization, Hank Krakowski, who told a congressional subcommittee that TRACON closures are "in abeyance."

Regardless of the machinations in Washington, the locals in Boise are vowing to fight the closure. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter said it makes no sense to remove the service from Boise if there are little or no cost savings. "We must keep TRACON jobs and service here in Boise," he said. "I will work with Idaho's congressional delegation to force the FAA to take no action until our requested audit is complete."