WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is delaying the closing of 149 airport control towers until mid-June in order to deal with legal challenges. Oshkosh's Wittman Regional Airport is one of those towers.
The first 24 closures had been scheduled for Sunday.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday the closures will be delayed until June 15. Trade groups representing companies that operate the towers under contract for FAA filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Washington.
Wittman Airport Director Peter Moll released the following statement:
"We are pleased that the FAA Administrator has pushed back the tower closure date to June 15. This allows us additional time to formulate operational plans for airport operations after that date, and to seek out potential funding sources for keeping the control tower operational year-round.
"Obviously we'd prefer that the FAA and Congress would restore funding for all contract control towers, but we will continue to work with Congressman Petri and Senators Johnson and Baldwin to achieve that goal."
Other Wisconsin towers on the list are at the airports in Mosinee, Eau Claire, Kenosha, Janesville, La Crosse, Waukesha, and at Timmerman Airport in Milwaukee. Those towers were going to lose their funding April 21 or May 5.
FAA says about 50 airport operators and communities have also indicated they may want to pay for operation of the towers themselves, and more time is needed to work out those details.
FAA has previously said the closures are necessary to accommodate automatic spending cuts.
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