WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Transportation Departments says 149 control towers at small airports that were slated for closure will remain at least through Sept. 30. The decision includes Felts Field in Spokane Valley and the Lewiston Nez-Perce Airport.
“This is great news for Spokane and the region because having Felts Field always manned will help give us the resources we need to coordinate between Spokane, Fairchild and Felts Field to make sure that air traffic can continue to grow in the region,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
Cantwell serves as Chairwoman of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security.
The department sent out a brief statement Friday. It says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has determined there is enough extra money, under a bill passed by Congress last month, to keep the towers open through the end of the budget year which is in September.
“While the Felts Field Contract Air Traffic Control Tower will remain open through the end of the fiscal year, we remain concerned and focused on achieving a long-term funding solution for this very successful and beneficial program,” said Lawrence Krauter.
Krauter serves as the Spokane Airports’ Chief Executive Officer. He added that airport leaders will continue to advocate for funding in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget.
The towers are operated by contractors for the Federal Aviation Administration at low-traffic airports.
They were scheduled to close June 15 as part of the FAA's plan to accommodate automatic spending cuts required by Congress.