RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio-- Cuts are coming to the Cuyahoga County Airport on April 7, specifically the air traffic control tower. “It’s a very busy airport,” says Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald.
He has sent letters to Ohio lawmakers pleading with them to do something about this.
The airport is home to 325 aircraft, 54 businesses and 3,000 employees.
“I’m frustrated beyond belief because it seems like the federal government keeps staggering from crisis to crisis. We are left to deal with the dysfunction,” Fitzgerald added. “To have air traffic control trying to prognosticate what landing conditions are like, it’s a crazy situation and it has real potential to affect business at our airport.”
To meet federal budget sequestration demands, the FAA will soon have to operate small and medium airports nationwide without tower help. Air traffic controllers will be cut. That means pilots will have to land planes with remote assistance, or do it alone.
“It’ll slow down approaches of planes,” says Congressman Jim Renacci, a former pilot. “When you have fewer eyes watching the situation, you have to slow down amount of planes in the pattern.”
Renacci has landed on his own plenty of times and says it can be done, but safety is compromised.
“The big picture is the president is the leader. He should make sure the cuts do not affect day-to-day services, especially safety services like police, fire and air traffic control.”
The FAA says they will consider each airport tower situation very carefully. As of now, April 7 will be the first day pilots will be on their own.