Saving Sawyer’s tower

The sequester is forcing the FAA to cut $600 million from its budget for this fiscal year.

The agency wants to permanently close 75% of its contract air traffic control towers nationwide.

Sawyer Airport’s tower is among 189 that would close.

Airport manager Duane DuRay says contract towers like Sawyer’s operate at much lower cost than towers that the FAA runs itself.

He says the FAA has asked all airports with towers that are slated to close to send a letter explaining why each tower should remain open.

That letter must be submitted to the FAA by Wednesday to be considered.

Although the tower adds a level of safety that wouldn’t otherwise be present, DuRay says Sawyer Airport can operate as usual without it.

The FAA will decide on the final closure list next Monday.

It’s expected to release the list to the public on Wednesday, March 20th.

If Sawyer’s tower is on the list, it would close on April 7th.

Five staff members would lose their jobs.