Air traffic control at LC sites could be impacted by sequestration - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Air traffic control at LC sites could be impacted by sequestration

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Air traffic control centers at the Lake Charles Regional Airport and Chennault International could be closed if federal sequestration cuts occur.

The airport sites are on a long list of locations around the nation that could be impacted.

Overall, six Louisiana air traffic control sites could see their hours cut back or closed. To view the full list from the Federal Aviation Administration, click HERE.

Randy Robb, Chennault director, told KPLC on Friday that right now, the air traffic control tower operates from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. He said if the cuts do occur, Chennault would see a "huge impact."

"For instance, military aircraft don't go to uncontrolled airfields, so we would lose that, and it would be deeply felt. Right now, Chennault is the busiest airport in the nation for military aircraft for an airport that is not a military airport. We get 8 cents for every gallon of fuel sold, so the cuts would be serious. However, we are  hopeful that there will be a decision on Capitol Hill soon and we will not have to deal with any cuts to our air traffic control tower," Robb said.

Heath Allen, executive director with Lake Charles Regional Airport, said officials there have been concerned about the sequestration cuts for some time.

"However, the focus of these cuts are just now coming to light. The announcement of cuts to air traffic control and specifically the tower at our airport are very concerning. The potential closing of these towers would undoubtedly have far reaching negative impacts to our nation's economy," Allen said.

"While this does not mean that the airport would cease to operate given that pilots would communicate using standard procedures over a common radio frequency, air traffic control is critical to the safety and efficiency of our nation's air transportation system. To actually go through with these closures and reductions in air traffic would be most unfortunate for our nation," Allen continued.

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