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FAA Closures Include Renton Municipal Airport Control Tower

FAA-run air traffic control towers at Tacoma Narrows airport in Gig Harbor, Olympia Regional, Felts Field in Spokane and McAllister Field in Yakima also make list of closures.

Five Washington state airport control towers will close beginning on April 7 as a result of budget sequestration, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Friday, including Renton Municipal Airport. 

The other Washington state airports affected are Tacoma Narrows airport in Gig Harbor, Olympia Regional, Felts Field in Spokane and McAllister Field in Yakima.

Theses closures are just five of 149 such closures across the country announced by the FAA.

The FAA reviewed hundreds of contract control tower locations with low traffic rates during the second week in March and made its decision based on the amount of impact on national interests, according to a March 5 letter from the FAA to Pierce County. The FAA did not consider local community impact.

In its letter to the County, the FAA explained that the timing of this closure is driven by budget sequestration, and similar reductions may be needed in the future.

Despite the tower’s closure, the Renton Municipal Airport will remain open.

The Renton Municipal Control Tower is currently operated daily, from 1 October through 30 April, between the hours of 0700 and 2000 Local Time, and from 1 May through 30 September, between the hours of 0700 and 2100 Local Time, according to the airport's website.

After the budget cuts go into effect, instead of having tower controllers directing air traffic, pilots would use well-defined procedures applicable at all airports without an operating control tower, according to local officials.

Rebecca Haas March 22, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Any idea what this will do with the recent plans from Boeing to build a bridge from the Renton plant over to the runway area?
Kendall Watson March 22, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Hi Rebecca, as far as I'm aware this will have virtually no effect on Boeing's operations. At worst it will limit the capacity of the airport for the number of daily take-offs and landings for private citizens. Airport infrastructure projects paid for by private companies are unaffected by the budget cuts.
Mark Spiegelman March 22, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Kendall, I have a plane at KRNT. How will private aircraft usage be limited? I n my mind it would be like any other uncontrolled field. Just a dangerous one now. Mark
Kendall Watson March 23, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Hi Mark, Well, that's a great question. I don't have any information beyond the fact that the take-offs and landings are going to be self-regulated. Do you have any additional information that you could share? Thanks.

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