Barkley Regional Airport Tower Set for Closure
By WestKyStar Staff
PADUCAH, KY - The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday released their final list of contract towers that will be closing beginning April 7th. Barkley Regional Airport’s tower was on that list, and will be one of those closing in April.
The list was released after the FAA consulted with the Department of Defense and Homeland Security, and evaluated appeals they received on behalf of the 189 contract towers marked for potential closure when sequestration went into effect. About 13 days ago, The FAA said they would consider keeping towers open if it could be determined that doing so would be in the best national interest. All airports were given four business days to argue why keeping their tower open met their criteria, but local economic impact could not be a part of this consideration.
Due to the overwhelming response, which was over 600 appeals, the FAA delayed making their final decisions until Friday so they could evaluate the appeals. Barkley Regional Airport’s appeal was 11 pages long, and was submitted in advance of the March 13th deadline.
“We felt we made the strongest argument possible for us, and that we submitted a concise, complete, and solid argument to keep our tower open,” said Airport Manager Richard Roof." In the end, the FAA removed 24 towers off their original closing list and unfortunately we weren’t one of those towers.”
Because of this possibility, Roof said the airport staff has been working diligently to make sure airport operations continue safely and as efficiently as possible. SkyWest has indicated that they will continue working to ensure their flights continue without interruption. He expects operations to continue as normal, with short-term delays as the only noticeable effects passengers could see. Air control operations will be handled by workers at the Memphis airport.
Roof said everyone at Barkley Airport is committed to providing the best and safest travel option possible for the people they serve, and they are hopeful that the FAA and Congress will work to make this a temporary setback for Paducah and 123 other communities across the country.
Six air traffic controllers will lose their jobs in Paducah. They were contracted through Midwest Air Traffic Control of Overland Park, KS.
Other airports in our region with towers set to close include Jackson and Millington, TN; Carbondale-Murphysboro, IL; Branson, MO; and Owensboro, KY.
On the Net: News Release on FAA Website