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.