As a result of the current budget sequestration and the federal spending cuts that are gradually taking effect, the Federal Aviation Administration, has announced its intention to close the air control tower at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport and the East Texas Regional Airport in Longview along with nearly 200 additional towers across the nation.
This move would affect only medium and smaller airports. The belief is that it will still be possible for planes to land at both airports without tower assistance or that planes will just be able to use other larger airports nearby.
But this plan really can't work can it? If you have been to either of these east Texas airports, you know that air traffic is relatively steady in and out because of the number of private, commuter and freight planes.
And yes, planes can land without someone in the tower but there is a reason we have professionals in these towers and the main reason is that air travel can be very risky. Cutting corners on safety should not be an option.
If the cuts takes place, it will put pressure on the larger regional airports around Dallas and Shreveport which are already crowded facilities. More air traffic means a greater risk for an incident and the possibility that these airports will need to add staff, neutralizing the expense savings while ultimately increasing the risk.
Keeping smaller airports staffed is necessary for safe air travel and will make for a Better East Texas.