Lawton Airport to be Minimally Affected by Sequester - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Lawton Airport to be Minimally Affected by Sequester

LAWTON Okla_ The automatic budget cuts that will go into effect if the sequester goes through will affect more than just the military.

About 230 airports nationwide will lose their control towers on March 1st, and the Lawton/Fort Sill Regional Airport is on that list.

Airport Manager Barbara McNally said the elimination of the control tower would not affect travel. She said operating tower or not, your spring break plans won't be affected.

If the sequester takes effect on March 1st, it will likely be the controllers at Fort Sill who are responsible for landing the American Eagle jets going between Lawton to Dallas.

McNally said the change won't be as dramatic as it sounds. It's already a team effort.

"Right now, when a pilot is coming into our area, they're talking to the Fort Sill approach controllers," McNally said. "If they're landing in Lawton, they're just being handed off to our controllers here to the ground."

Most likely, these folks de-boarding their plane didn't think twice about who was communicating with the pilot, or where they were located. McNally said travelers won't notice a difference next time they take off or land in Lawton.

"The public will see no difference in the services that they're going to be provided," McNally said. "The air carriers will not see any differences. The pilots will just be talking to someone different that won't be right there on the airfield. So, it will not affect our business."

Internally, there will be some changes made if the sequester forces the tower to quit operating. McNally said the changes will be minimal, but extremely important.

"When we're out on the air side driving, if maintenance is doing inspections and that kind of thing, there's a different procedure of monitoring a different frequency to make sure we're not going to be out there the same time as a plane is," McNally said. "A plane has the right-of-way over everybody out there, so we'll have to be more vigilant while we're out there. We'll have to be in coordination with Fort Sill approach."

There are five other airports in Oklahoma that are set close their towers come March 1st. McNally said the Lawton Fort sill Regional Airport will fare much better than the others, because we do have a military presence here that can pick up the slack. She's not really sure what the other airports will do.

The other airports in Oklahoma that will be affected if the sequester goes through are Ardmore Municipal, University of Oklahoma Westheimer, Wiley Post, Stillwater Regional and Enid Wooding Regional.

 

 

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