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Felts Field fighting to keep tower open

By Annie Bishop, KXLY4 Reporter , annieb@kxly.com
Published On: Mar 30 2013 01:41:45 AM CDT
SPOKANE, Wash. -

An effort to keep Felts Field control tower from closing has now reached the U.S. Court of Appeals.

On Monday, Spokane Airports filed a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. to grant a stay.

"We feel there should've been a much more thoughtful, methodical, systematic safety review, more comprehensive review done of all these individual decisions, the FAA has not done that," Larry Krauter, Spokane Airports CEO said.

"So there's a whole host of things missing and we're saying wait a minute," he added.

Felts Field is one of 149 control towers slated to close April 7th because of budget cuts.

Krauter believes if Felts is forced to operate without a control tower, pilots and passengers may be put at risk.  Last year, Felts Field control tower oversaw 52,000 landings and takeoffs.

"We have a very significant safety concern about the tower being closed.  And, we pointed that out to the FAA and we believe if they followed a process they would agree," Krauter said.

Addison Pemberton has been flying in and out Felts Field for 17 years.  He's concerned about safety on the ground and in the air.

"The control tower orchestrates the traffic in and out of airport," Addison Pemberton.

"Not only orchestrates the traffic but makes all the pilots aware of other aircraft, which is very much a safety issue," he added.

Krauter said the FAA is expected to announce on Tuesday if it will reconsider its decision.  If the FAA does not rule in favor of the FAA, Krauter said the airport will continue with legal action.

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