Airport officials working on appeal to avoid tower shutdown

In this file photo, a flight navigates away from the gate and onto the runway at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.

In this file photo, a flight navigates away from the gate and onto the runway at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.

ALBANY, Ga. — Airport officials are busy filing appeals to a decision handed down by the federal government to shutter the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport's tower control center due to sequester-related cuts.

Airport Director Yvette Aehle says that the 173 airports who received notices from the FAA last week have until March 13 to justify why their towers, and the contract employees who man them, should stay open.

"We don't know how it may impact us and it appears that not many others do either," Aehle said Wednesday. "We're calling around and no one, not people from the FAA to congressional staff to the other airports, have really any idea what's going on or what could happen."

There are limited contingency plans in place for periods when the tower is understaffed those mainly entail shifting the burden of monitoring Albany's airspace to towers in Jacksonville. Those towers, however, may also be impacted by the cuts, making any backup plans the city may have difficult.

"We're working through a variety of ideas right now on ways that we can keep the tower staffed if the appeal doesn't work," Aehle said.

Those ideas include possibly contracting directly with the company who provides the controllers or hiring people directly to man the tower.

The cuts to tower staff will mostly be for contract workers and not FAA personnel Aehle said.

"Just about 75 percent of the closed towers are contract towers," Aehle said. "They're protecting their own while they're throwing the rest of us out."

The decision could potentially impact Albany's status as a cargo airport. Aehle says that UPS, which has an Albany hub, is involved in the discussions between the airport and the FAA, as are U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop's office and the office of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

The impact to commercial passenger service should be minimal.

"If we do this right, no one in the general public should notice," Aehle said.


buddy 1 year, 11 months ago

It's amazing the lengths Obama will go to play childish games with the American people. Maybe if he didn't give 250 million dollars to Egypt and millions more to people fighting in Syria there would be no shortage of money!


Cartman 1 year, 11 months ago

I hate it too but we have to cut spending. Planes won't fall out of the sky because we don't have tower service. Traffic flies in before the tower opens at 8am and plenty of traffic comes in at night after they close at 8pm. Albany airport will do fine without a tower.

Never react when you can over-react.


buddy 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree Cartman, but why not cut the millions that goes to find out why we can't grow plants on Jupiter, or finding out how tadpoles swim, or how algae grows....all made up project by me, but not too far from the real thing. Instead things are cut where people can complain the most.


VSU 1 year, 10 months ago

And they also want to send people to Mars. That was on the news the other day.


Cartman 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm with you buddy. I think the Sequestration should be the beginning of massive spending cuts. I hate it employment-wise for our friends that work the towers, but spending has to be reduced.

By the way, Albany is not being singled out. The other airports in Georgia losing tower service are:

AHN Athens-Ben Epps Athens GA
CSG Columbus Metropolitan Columbus GA
FTY Fulton County-Brown Field Atlanta GA
LZU Gwinnett County-Briscoe Field Lawrenceville GA
MCN Middle Georgia Regional Macon GA
RYY Cobb County-McCollum Field Atlanta (Kennesaw) GA


shep 1 year, 10 months ago

Government spending money to build the so called new terminal and now because of the sequester the tower will not be operational due to furloughs. Big government at it's finest! Just wait till next year when everyone figures out what is really happening with this transparent president, there should and probably will be a revolution in this country due to the added costs of PPACA and this crazy spending. Taxing our way out of debt----OUCH, if you are one of the remaining workers who pay taxes.


rightasrain 1 year, 10 months ago

The American people should "sequester" Obama!


KaosinAlbany 1 year, 10 months ago

I whole heartedly agree with your statement.


jglass 1 year, 10 months ago

The cuts need to start with his salary, congress, the senate, etc. And, he needs to quit sending money to other countries. If we are trillions of dollars in debt., QUIT sending money away and QUIT spending foolishly. Just like congress or the senate giving themselves a pay raise..................


chinaberry25 1 year, 10 months ago

And we are the biggest idiots of all. This area keeps re electing Sanford Bishop and he is on the bandwagon to what? Send our mail to Tallahassee and close the downtown post office. I figured that Sumter Co. has 6 post offices and Dougherty Co. has 5 and one will closed. How is that good common sense? We ask for it when we keep re electing the same old Ted Kennedys. BTW, Muscogee Co.'s mail goes to Macon now. Columbus is not big enough to have their own sorter???


Cartman 1 year, 10 months ago

"BTW, Muscogee Co.'s mail goes to Macon now. Columbus is not big enough to have their own sorter???"

They have the same problem that we have. Sanford Bishop.


RedEric 1 year, 10 months ago

We are giving food stamps and welfare to over 5 million illegal aliens while we lay off US citizens? That is treasonous. I know illegal aliens are future or even present Democratic voters. But this should at least upset union members of the Democratic Party.


YDoICare 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree with everyone here as to government spending and waste. Myself, I find the waste through duplication of services and inefficiency in the usage of funds and resources allocated the most aggravating. Each side in Washington preaches about reforming the tax code, but they prefer to point fingers at who is to blame. These “reforms” do not need to be radical, but make the code consistent where 2 different CPAs are able to look at a particular set of books and individually reach the same figures. I’m old enough to understand the “it’s the President’s fault” position regardless of who is in the office because that person is President.

With budget issues, however, I do not blame the President but Congress because they are the sole branch with Constitutional power regarding spending. When I blame Congress, I also blame me because I’m part of the “We the People” who sent many of these self-serving, intelligence starved, lazy complainers to Washington to represent us. Even though a new budget has not been passed, we still have a budget—the last one passed remains in force. Congress has the power to fund or not to fund the majority of governmental agencies and programs. No Budget, No Pay is merely propaganda because of the 27th Amendment.

Personally, I would like to see one Bill proposed and passed by all representatives (like in the old days when Southern Democrats would team with Northern Republicans and Democrats to do what they thought would benefit their home area and country – I’m old enough to have voted in the Solid South -- or at least by either Democrats in the Senate or Republicans in the House (since Party today seems to mean more than American to so many) to reduce or cut single expenditures without all of the riders and amendments creating all of these variables about the cut. Then, the public will see where representatives stand on specific issues, hold them accountable on actions and not words or party, and finally let the President sign or veto which is the Constitutional power of the Executive Office. Instead, allow sequester, blame each other, and blow smoke in the eyes of everyone so they will not realize the true intent of sequester. My friend and former colleague in Albany recently wrote a basic description on the background of sequester, and the cited links are very helpful in going beyond the MSNBC, FOX, or any other partisan rhetoric. http://lablouisianaboy.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/lazy-egotistical-and-partisanship-the-making-of-a-sequester/


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