Federal officials say air traffic control centers at 25 smaller Texas airports including the one in Tyler -- could close or see hours reduced if automatic federal spending cuts take effect next week.
According to some reports, the Federal Aviation Administration says the reductions are part of its plan to cope with a spending reduction of $600 million during the rest of the fiscal year.
For more on this story we go live to Megan Middleton with our news partner the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
Megan, what did Tyler?s airport manager have to say about the possibility of this happening?
Airport Manager Davis Dickson said if the FAA decided to reduce or suspend air traffic control operations, the airport has procedures in place so it could continue to operate.
These include using Fort Worth or Shreveport for approach control services and shifting to UNICOM, which is a system that allows air traffic on the ground to communicate with air traffic in the air.
Now, UNICOM is already used between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., but Dickson said air traffic control is much more efficient.
And what does he think about the likelihood this could happen?
He?s optimistic that if closures did take place, Tyler?s air traffic control would be less likely to go because it provides for commercial air service in addition to private aviation.
He also said if the FAA chose to take action, he would expect them to reduce or suspend services rather than close centers all together.
And he also noted that at this point, neither he nor the city has received any official correspondence about this situation.
For more on this story, including the list of other Texas air traffic control facilities that could be affected, read tomorrow?s Tyler Morning Telegraph.