Sawyer tower open until September 30th

The air traffic control tower at Sawyer International Airport has a short-term extension.

It was scheduled to close on June 15th.

But on Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation said the tower will remain open until September 30th.

That’s the end of the federal fiscal year.

Local efforts from the U.P. community to keep Sawyer’s tower open fell on deaf ears at first.

“I’m very satisfied that our representatives reviewed this a little closer and put some pressure on the FAA to come to a more realistic decision, at least for this fiscal year,” Sawyer Airport manager Duane DuRay said.

The House and Senate passed the Reducing Flight Delays Act in late April.

It allows the FAA to give the affected towers enough money to stay open and avoid employee furloughs for a while.

“The tower, even though it’s not mission-critical to our operation, it still adds a layer of safety that lends to make us a very efficient and marketable airport,” DuRay said.

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

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