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FAA announces closure of 4 Arizona control towers

Four Arizona air traffic control towers will be closed soon because of sequestration-related cuts, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a release.

The four towers that will be closed are located at Glendale Municipal Airport, Phoenix Goodyear Airport, Laughlin-Bullhead International Airport and Ryan Field in Tucson. Closures begin April 7 and will take four weeks to complete.

“We will work with the airports and the operators to ensure the procedures are in place to maintain the high level of safety at non-towered airports,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in the release.

The City of Phoenix Aviation Department released a statement that the Goodyear airport would “continue to operate with a pilot-to-pilot communications system.” The airport is home to the Airline Training Center of Arizona, which trains pilots for Lufthansa Airlines of Germany. The center previously said it would move operations if the tower closed.

In a statement, Tucson’s Ryan Field said it petitioned the FAA to keep its tower open, to no avail.

The Tucson Airport Authority is grateful to our area’s elected representatives for their assistance and support in making our case for keeping Ryan’s tower open. We are disappointed in this decision given the significant safety and economic benefits the tower contributes to our community and southern Arizona.

In total, the FAA will close 149 towers, down from the original 189 towers that were estimated to close.

The FAA used four considerations to decide which towers to close. Towers were considered based on their importance to national security, their impact on the economy, the extent to which the tower is used as relief to nearby hubs and the tower’s impact on transportation, communication and financial networks.

The federal cuts that came with the sequester slashed the FAA’s budget by $637 million.