OU funding to
keep airport tower open
NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma will provide bridge funding to keep the air traffic control tower at Max Westheimer Airport open as federal budget cuts threaten to close towers at several Oklahoma airports this month.
Tuesday, the university announced it will use nonappropriated auxiliary funds to staff the tower during the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. OU owns the airport at 1700 Lexington Ave.
OU President David Boren said in a statement that maintaining the airport is essential for its aviation students.
“Our first concern is the safety of our student pilots. Max Westheimer is one of the busiest airports in Oklahoma. It has almost 60,000 takeoffs and landings annually, almost half the number of Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport,” he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration in March announced it would close 149 towers operated by contractors nationwide as a cost-saving measure. A revised list, publicized on March 22, included four Oklahoma airports: Max Westheimer, Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City, Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport and Stillwater Regional Airport.
OU said the funding will be provided “until budget issues are resolved in Washington.”
Jennifer Palmer, Business Writer