When the University of Notre Dame football team was in town to play the Sooners last fall, there were at least 200 aircraft at the airport, which ended up turning some pilots away and running out of fuel, Strong said.
“How do you do that without a control tower in place?” he questioned.
“Not safely, fast or efficiently.”
Air service at Will Rogers World Airport could be impacted, as well, said Karen Carney, an airport spokeswoman.
Cutting the air traffic control tower's overnight shifts would affect the airport's first departure, scheduled at 5:30 a.m., and late flights, which arrive from 12:30 to 1 a.m.
Also, nightly airfield inspections and snow operations aren't allowed in an uncontrolled environment, she said.
If the control tower at Wiley Post Airport is closed, pilots may instead attempt to use Will Rogers World Airport, which could increase traffic and cause delays.
Commercial flights likely will continue at Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport, where American Eagle is the sole air carrier.
But military operations and charter flights could be impacted, airport Director Barbara McNally said.
Currently, the airport's control tower operates from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
McNally is appealing the FAA's decision.
“If the whole point of the FAA is safety ... you're taking a key piece of the safety of the national airspace system out,” she said of the proposal.
Of the 238 air traffic control towers set for closure nationwide, 189 are part of the FAA's contract tower program, meaning they are staffed by nonfederal employees.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, last week asked the FAA to reconsider. He suggested alternative cuts that could save money yet protect the safety of the flying public, such as canceling upcoming conferences, freezing nonessential hiring and reducing funding for several low-priority programs.
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