The Owensboro-Daviess County Airport control tower will remain open through September 30th, but Airport Manager Bob Whitmer has concerns about not having the control tower during an emergency if the tower closed because of federal sequestration.
First responders held an emergency landing exercise at the airport yesterday. Whitmer says the drill showed the important role the control tower plays directing emergency responders on the air field. "If we do not have a control tower we think we are going to have some real challenges because the control tower right now is the airport eyes and ears during an emergency," said Whitmer.
Emergency responders won't have that eye in the sky helping them move around the air field during an emergency if the control tower closes. Whitmer says the airport might have to temporarily close in the event of any suspected emergency. "This is something that we have not had to worry about for 30 years," said Whitmer, "but if we should lose it because it is not in the federal appropriations for the upcoming budget. We'll have challenges this airport has never had to face before."
Whitmer says the GRAAD board which represents seven counties recently passed a resolution to encourage federal officials to support funding to keep contracted control towers around the country open. Whitmer has also recently contacted city and county officials asking for their help to lobby federal officials to keep the control towers open until a federal budget is completed.