FAA to keep contract towers open

Washington DC
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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will keep 149 contract control towers at small airports open, following congressional action that ended furloughs of air traffic controllers across the country.

The Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 allows the agency to transfer enough money between accounts to eliminate the tower closures, as well as the furloughs and plans to eliminate midnight shifts at 72 towers, according to the US Department of Transportation. The act was signed into law on 1 May.

The FAA will also reallocate $10 million to the NextGen programme and $11 million to support infrastructure in the national airspace system, which was eliminated under the federal government's sequester budget cuts.

The contract control towers were slated to close on 15 June unless local authorities could raise the funds needed to keep them open. This was delayed from the original 7 April closure date.