Pella Chronicle

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

August 9, 2012

Looming cuts could hit small airports

OSKALOOSA — A looming, automatic federal budget cut threatens service at many of the nation’s small airports.

A recent email that circulated among the nation’s airport executives lists airports that possibly could close if Congress doesn’t act to reverse a law to require across-the-board cuts to all federal programs.

Cherry Capital in northern Michigan is among 106 small airports nationwide on the list that could lose airport control tower personnel under the reductions scheduled to go into effect Jan. 2, 2013.

“This is a what-if scenario, kind of a doomsday look at the thing,” said Kevin Klein, Cherry Capital Airport manager in Traverse City. “It was to point out that if unilateral cuts are made, it could have a lot of effects on aviation.”

Automatic cuts to all discretionary federal programs comes as a result of the 2011 battle over raising the federal debt ceiling to prevent the federal government from defaulting on its loans.

The Center for American Progress concludes that small airports would receive the brunt of cuts to the FAA and likely would see their air traffic controllers eliminated.

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