Idaho Falls and Pocatello airport control towers to close


WASHINGTON - Idaho Falls and Pocatello control towers will be among 149 federal contract towers that will close as part of the agency's sequestration implementation plan.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, two other Idaho airport towers at Hailey and Lewiston will also close. Ogden and Provo, Utah, were also on the closure list.

The agency will keep 24 federal contract towers open that had been previously proposed for closure because doing so would have a negative impact on the national interest. 

Both Idaho Falls and Pocatello made similar arguments that were not accepted by the federal agency.

"We will work with the airports and the operators to ensure the procedures are in place to maintain the high level of safety at nontowered airports," said FAA administrator Michael Huerta in a news release.

Both airports will still be operational.

"Without the tower, what we do is revert to an uncontrolled airport status, and that's not really a big deal, either," said David Allen, Pocatello Airport manager. "At least, people won't see any changes."

Pilots will see a difference, however.

"At uncontrolled airports, where there is no control tower pilots self announce their position as they get into the airspace, (it's) kind of like a four-way stop," said Craig Davis, the manager of the Idaho Falls Aiport.

The FAA will begin a four-week phased closure of the contract towers beginning April 7.

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