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City of Stillwater will pay to keep local airport tower open

Federal officials plan to close the Stillwater Regional Airport tower June 15. The city has agreed to fund the tower's operation through the end of federal fiscal year.
by Brianna Bailey Published: April 10, 2013
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Facing federal spending cuts from the Federal Aviation Administration, the city of Stillwater has agreed to pay about $104,000 to keep the air traffic control tower open at Stillwater Regional Airport through the end of September.

The FAA has said it will begin slashing funding to 149 contract air traffic control towers at airports across the country beginning June 15 due to spending cuts forced by sequestration.

Towers on the closure list include four at Oklahoma airports: Stillwater; Max Westheimer in Norman; Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City; and Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport.

Last week, the University of Oklahoma announced it would provide bridge funding to keep the air traffic control tower at Max Westheimer open until the federal budget issues are resolved.

Reduced schedule

The Stillwater City Council voted Monday night to approve funding to keep the Stillwater tower open until Oct. 1 if the spending cuts take effect.

The funding from the city will allow the airport to keep its control tower open on a reduced schedule if the FAA goes forward with its plans, Airport Director Gary Johnson said. The Stillwater tower will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. under the agreement with the city and will close on Sundays.

“We will be weighing our options during this interim period and are still very hopeful that the FAA will look at cutting areas that do not affect safety,” Johnson said.

by Brianna Bailey
Business Writer
Brianna Bailey has lived in Idaho, Germany and Southern California, but Oklahoma is her adopted home. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Univerisity of Oklahoma and has worked at several newspapers in Oklahoma and Southern...
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We will be weighing our options during this interim period and are still very hopeful that the FAA will look at cutting areas that do not affect safety.”

Gary Johnson,
Stillwater Regional Airport Director

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