“We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “Unfortunately we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make.”
The control towers are located at small to mid-level airports and are run by private contractors. Although the towers will be shuttered, the airports themselves will remain open.
The closures will begin on April 7th.
While the FAA had initially planned to close 189 control towers, 24 were deemed necessary for the national interest in the sense that closing them would result in national security threats or a negative impact beyond the local community. And additional 16 eyed for closure were spared since Congress has already allocated funding for them.
Under sequestration, the FAA is faced with $37 million in cuts. In the lead-up to the automatic spending cuts, the White House warned that FAA personnel would face furloughs.
A list of the closed towers’ locations can be found here.