ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration has notified airports in Santa Fe and Hobbs as well as the general aviation field in west Albuquerque that they will lose funding for their control towers unless they prove a pressing national interest for being spared the federal budget-cutting ax.
FAA officials said a final decision on which towers will lose their funding will be made next week, but the bar for exemption is high.
"Negative impact on the national interest is the only criterion the FAA will use for deciding to continue services to an airport that falls below the activity threshold," the FAA wrote to 189 airports across the country that use contract rather than FAA controllers. "The FAA is unable to consider local community impact that does not affect the national interest."
The tower closures are in response to automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts that took effect this month.
It is unclear how tower closings could impact commercial traffic at the Santa Fe and Hobbs airports. Local governments could opt to fund the towers themselves, but officials in Santa Fe and Hobbs airports did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.