Spokane Sues FAA Over Tower Shutdown
As the FAA moves forward with plans to close 149 contract towers across the U.S., local communities are scrambling for ways to keep their towers open, and in at least one case, a city is suing the FAA to stop the shutdown. In Spokane, Wash., the airport board has asked a federal court to prevent the FAA from closing the tower at Felts Field, arguing that the agency failed to complete a required safety analysis, according to Bloomberg News. Felts Field, a reliever airport for Spokane International, handles about 52,000 takeoffs and landings per year.
According to AOPA, impacts from the federal cutbacks already are being felt. Pilots crossing the border into the U.S. in Florida and Texas have met with hours-long delays, AOPA says, and are not allowed to exit their aircraft until personnel are available to process them. Pilots should expect delays and plan for them. "Pilots who exit their aircraft before being met by a customs official could be hit with a violation," AOPA said. Josh Zepps, of the Huffington Post, hosted an online discussion Tuesday about the sequester impacts with several aviators and commentators, including Paul Rinaldi of NATCA and Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation. Poole makes a case for switching to an independent entity like NavCanada to insulate aviation services from politics. "If it's doable there, it ought to be doable here," he said.