Budget cuts lead to closing of four small Mid-South airport towe - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Budget cuts lead to closing of four small Mid-South airport towers

Posted: Updated:
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – Budget cuts are forcing the government to shut down hundreds of airport traffic control towers.

Four of them are right here in the Mid-South.

"They will continue flying out of this airport but not with the same amount of safety that they had before," flight instructor Grant Bales said.

Bales is a flight instructor at the Olive Branch Regional Airport, which is one of four small Mid-South airports that will lose their air traffic control towers. The towers will be closed down because of federal budget cuts. Millington Regional Jetport, McKeller-Sipes Regional in Jackson, Tennessee and Tupelo regional are the other three airports on the list of 149 nationwide.

The main impact airport directors say is safety. It will be left to pilots to coordinate takeoffs and landings among themselves when the towers close.

"You have to be pretty diligent reporting where you are going and be vigilant," Chopper 5 Pilot, Sam Farris said. "You have to watch for other traffic."

Pilots are trained to do that but there still could be problems.

"The other aircraft might be dealing with an antiquated chart or talking on a different radio frequency," Farris said.

A lot of students train and learn at regional airports like Olive Branch.

"They are not as familiar with what they're supposed to be doing in the airspace and may not know where they are," Bales added.

In a statement the FAA Administrator said the agency will take steps to ensure safe operations at the affected airports. The towers will begin closing in the next few weeks.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • March Mugshots

    March Mugshots

    Monday, April 7 2014 12:49 PM EDT2014-04-07 16:49:38 GMT
    Michelle Marie Bussiere was arrested last week and charged with identity theft, forgery, theft under $500, among other charges.  (Source: Sullivan County Sheriff's Office)Michelle Marie Bussiere was arrested last week and charged with identity theft, forgery, theft under $500, among other charges. (Source: Sullivan County Sheriff's Office)
    This photo gallery features mugshots of individuals arrested in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia. More >>
    This photo gallery features mugshots of individuals arrested in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia. More >>
  • Dyer County couple caught in international custody battle

    Dyer County couple caught in international custody battle

    Monday, April 14 2014 6:45 PM EDT2014-04-14 22:45:30 GMT
    Jason and Amber Lloyd weren't able to spend the first birthday with their son.  That's because, they say he's still stuck in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They adopted their son SamuelMore >>
    Jason and Amber Lloyd were not able to spend their son's first birthday with him. They say it is because he is still stuck in the Democratic Republic of Congo.More >>
  • Three arrests made in Olive Branch shooting death

    Three arrests made in Olive Branch shooting death

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 5:54 PM EDT2014-04-15 21:54:55 GMT
    (WMC-TV) - Three arrests have been made in connection with the shooting death of a 26-year-old man in Olive Branch, Miss. According to Olive Branch Police Department, Marvellius Shipp, 19, MickeyMore >>
    Three arrests have been made in connection with the shooting death of a 26-year-old man in Olive Branch, Miss.More >>
Powered by WorldNow