FAA delays closure of Waukesha County Aiport's control tower to June 15

Published on: 4/5/2013

It was just two weeks ago that the Federal Aviation Administration said that 149 airport control towers, including Waukesha County’s Crites Field, would begin a four-week closing period April 7.

Kurt Stanich, airport manager, said the Waukesha County Airport was on the third batch of closures scheduled for May 5.

But that decision, Stanich said, has been pushed back until June 15.

In a press release released by the FAA today, it said the additional time will allow the agency to attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions. 

“Extending the transition deadline will give the FAA and airports more time to execute the changes to the National Airspace System,” the release said.

The FAA is eliminating funding for these towers as part of the agency’s required $637 million budget cuts under sequestration. But Stanich and others have said that these cuts are disproportionate. 

Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas took a trip last month to Washington, D.C., to talk with politicians in an attempt to save the control towers.

In addition to the tower in Waukesha, the other towers in Wisconsin that will close are in Mosinee, Eau Claire, Kenosha, Janesville, La Crosse and Oshkosh.

Stanich said today’s development leaves him hopeful that the towers could stay open if more people continue to voice their concerns about safety and how the operational process will be impacted.

“This news was a welcome shock, especially as the date approached,” Stanich said. "It is our continued hope that the FAA and our federal legislators will find a way to work toward a resolution that does not impact aviation safety.”