KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Johnson County Executive Airport will be one of 149 airports nationwide forced to shut down its control tower by April 7, the FAA announced Friday.
The decision to shutter 149 so-called "contract towers" came as a result of sequester-mandated cuts to the agency. Most of the towers which will have to close are in rural areas.
"We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement posted on the FAA's website. "Unfortunately we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration."
The FAA allowed airports an opportunity to appeal to keep their towers open if the tower operated in the "national interest," and several area airports originally slated to lose their tower met this criteria and will be able to keep their towers open.
RELATED | Sequester cuts to shutter control towers at local airports: http://tinyurl.com/amnbpqz
The Rosecrans Memorial Airport in St. Joseph, home of an air national guard base which also uses its tower, was spared, as was Forbes Field in Topeka.
Johnson County Executive Airport, which employed several controllers and supervisors, will be one of several local airports forced to close its tower and lay off its employees.
A bipartisan amendment to a spending bill in the U.S. Senate, led by Kan. Sen. Jerry Moran, which would have funded the contract tower program through alternative means, failed earlier this week.
See the complete list of tower closures on the FAA website here: http://tinyurl.com/av6u27h