Updated Friday, March 22 – 4:20 pm
Santa Monica Airport’s air traffic control tower will continue to operate as normal despite other small airports receiving news today that their control towers will close next month.
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released Friday a list of 149 federal contract towers (FCT) that will close beginning April 7.
The closures are part of the agency’s sequestration implementation plan.
Ian Gregor, FAA Pacific Division Public Affairs Manager, said Santa Monica’s tower is not a federal contract tower (FCT); it is an FAA tower.
“Today’s announcement only concerned FCTs, not FAA towers,” Gregor said. “We haven’t made any decisions about FAA towers yet. On background: the FAA will need to negotiate the closure of any FAA towers with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). Contractually, that process could take up to 12 months. That process has not begun yet”
In early March, FAA proposed to close 189 contract air traffic control towers as part of its plan to meet the $637 million in cuts required under budget sequestration and announced that it would consider keeping open any of these towers if doing so would be in the national interest.