Tyler Pounds control tower on list of cuts - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Tyler Pounds control tower on list of cuts

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TYLER (KYTX) - While the federal funding for the air control tower is being pulled, the city of Tyler is looking for ways to keep the tower open.

Those with the city says the airport is a vested interest for them.

The airport itself will remain open, and nothing will change inside.

But the city is looking at other options to keep the radars going at the control tower, and not send their radio traffic 90 miles away.

Airport Manager Davis Dickson said Friday the FAA pulled all funding to the Tyler Pounds Regional Airport air control tower.

The idea of someone directing air traffic from Shreveport or Dallas worries some passengers, but not frequent flyer Jim Boehringer.

"There's a lot to keep up with because it affects what I do," says Boehringer.

He takes 8 to 10 flights a week, and he says pilots know how to communicate in the air even when there is no control tower to direct them.

But he worries about potential, unknown problems.

"I know they're saying there won't be a direct impact from the operation stand point, but I think that still remains to be seen," says Boehringer.

"There will be no cancellation of flights. we're going to continue to operate as effectively and safely as we can. that's the history we've carried and we will continue to do that," says Dickson.

Dickson says whatever happens with the control tower, nothing should change in the terminal where passengers check in through security and board the plane.

They shouldn't see any differences in here.

"Tyler has put a tremendous amount of capital into the airport," says Dickson.

Dickson sent a letter to the FAA outlining reasons the tower should remain open.

He says the city is looking at other options, even privatization, to keep the tower from becoming a blip on the radar.

"Maybe the last option, but I think the bottom line, we want to continue to operate the control tower at Tyler Pounds Regional," says Dickson.

"I think that's a good idea as long as the city qualifies who the contractor might be," says Boehringer.

The city says it's trying every outlet it can to work with the FAA, and looking at funding the tower through local funds as well.

Dickson said today it wouldn't be from grants, because the money is being cut from the government.

It would likely be from local funds from the city, although they're not sure exactly where just yet.

The closures to nearly 150 air traffic control towers in the U.S. will begin April 7th.

East Texas Regional Airport in Longview will not be affected because it is controlled through the FAA and not a contractor service like all the other towers being cut.

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