Closure may not be end for Sawyer’s tower

The Federal Aviation Administration has set an official closure date for the only staffed air traffic control tower in the U.P.

The tower at Sawyer International Airport will close on May 5th.

Airport officials say local efforts to keep the tower open have fallen on deaf ears.

But this may not be the end.

Senator Carl Levin and his staff have told them it may be possible to re-open the tower later this year if funding for it can be found in the 2014 federal budget.

The airport will continue to operate as usual, but airport manager Duane DuRay says Senator Levin and his staff are aware of the added layer of safety that the tower provides for the airport.

Sawyer’s tower is one of 149 air traffic control towers nationwide that the FAA plans to close under the federal budget sequester.

All 149 of the closing towers are operated by outside subcontractors rather than by the FAA itself.