UPDATE: Airport control tower to close at CVRA - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Airport control tower to close at CVRA

Posted:

UPDATE --- Press Release from CVRA: 

We have received final notice that the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (Eau Claire, WI) air traffic control tower is among 149 towers nationwide and 8 in Wisconsin slated for closure on April 7th despite our best efforts to appeal the FAA's decision. 

It is unfortunate that the impacts of the sequester were not fairly distributed amongst the FAA's budget as the contract tower program is receiving the brunt of these cuts.

The loss of the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport tower will result in five local controllers losing their jobs.  We are unsure at this point what economic impacts the closure will have on the airport and community but we do know that there will be impacts that include delayed corporate jet traffic. 

However, the Airport will remain open and airlines will continue to serve the airport in a safe manner as there are alternate safety mechanisms in place.  Pilots are trained to operate in uncontrolled environments and we have had uncontrolled airline service at night for many years. 

There will likely be system wide delays due to these cuts resulting from less air traffic controllers nationwide. 

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - On Friday the FAA announced in an effort to save money the tower at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport is one of nearly 150 being closed, leaving five people out of a job.

The FAA says it will begin a four-week phased closure at the towers starting on April 7th.   Congressman Ron Kind, who represents the Third District here in Wisconsin had this to say about the decision.

"It's a disappointing decision given the importance of the tower, proximity to the Twin Cities, the economic impact it will have. This is why congress needs to go back and do our jobs. Instead of just mindless across the board cuts, we should be more discriminating in the spending programs that we can reform for cost-savings rather than what's happening and the economic impact that's going to result from it."

The decision means pilots will have to communicate with each other when landing and taking off at the airport.

Here in Wisconsin, the eight airports affected are in Janesville, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Kenosha, Waukesha and Mosinee.

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Washington, DC – Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) reacted today to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) announcement that the air traffic control tower closures at the La Crosse Municipal Airport and the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport are on the final list for closure due to sequester cuts.

"I am disappointed that the towers at these two airports are now scheduled for closure," said Kind, an outspoken advocate for keeping the two towers open. "For the sake of air safety, economic activity and national security I am going to continue working with the FAA toward a solution to reopen these towers at the earliest possible opportunity."

Rep. Kind had written letters and spoken publicly about the need to keep the towers open at the two airports, citing the important roles they play beyond providing excellent service to the flying public.

The La Crosse Municipal Airport serves as the primary airport for Fort McCoy's military traffic, and also functions as a training facility for Volk Field. Closing of the Federal Contract Tower in La Crosse will interfere with personnel transportation and training capacities, ultimately affecting our national security. The tower at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport helps communicate automated weather information to help ensure safe aviation, and the closure of this tower will weaken that airport's ability to manage air traffic during bad weather. Additionally, both airports serve as "reliever" airports which accommodate planes diverted from other airports as a result of challenging weather conditions.

"The announcement of these closures is unfortunate, but I'm committed to ensuring that the residents, businesses, and uniformed men and women who rely on these airports can continue to do so safely and conveniently," concluded Kind.

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