Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tower closure doesn't mean airport will close

The Federal Aviation Administration's decision to cut funding for the control tower at Idaho Falls Regional Airport doesn't mean the airport will be closing.

Airport Director Craig Davis said he has received word from United Express, Delta and Allegiant Air that they will continue to provide the same number of flights. In fact, more than a dozen commercial flight take off or land at IFRA each week durin hours when the tower is closed.

Idaho Falls and Pocatello were on a list released Friday of more than 100 airports where towers would be closed because of across-the-board federal spending cuts that went into effect Marxh 1.

Local pilot Mike Hart offered this take on what the effect is likely to be: "Imagine what traffic on 17th Street would be like if instead of traffic lights and turn arrows at each intersection you had four-way stops. Traffic would continue, it would just be slowed down and more frustrating."

Davis said the top consideration of the city and the airport management will continue to be safety.