Ocala Airport Tower Closing
Matthew Grow says when the FAA came down and said they were looking at closing the tower so save a few million dollars nationwide, the tone was pretty bleak.
The FAA did decide to close to the tower down. It's one among 149 around the country that will no longer operate.
Millions of dollars and about 4 years of planning went into building a tower for the Ocala area. It opened in 2010 and is closing down just 3 years later.
So how will the pilot navigate the skies now? The airport's director says without the control tower, it is up to the pilots to announce their position, talk to each other and maintain separation.
That was something the pilots did before the tower was operational.
It takes 6 controllers day and night to work the tower. Grow says the airport does not employ the air traffic controllers, a private company does. That company is cutting back too, issuing furloughs to their employees. so the controllers could lose their jobs altogether.
The closures are part of mandatory spending cuts set to trim millions of dollars from its budget. In Ocala alone, the closure will save the FAA nearly half a million dollars. Grow says he thinks it's going to cost the industry a lot more in job loss and lost economic productivity.
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