The closure of the Waukesha County Airport/Crites Field traffic control tower has been delayed to June 15.
The Federal Aviation Administration had previously planned to close several Wisconsin airport towers in April and May, including the tower at Waukesha County Airport.
The Wisconsin closures are part of 149 other traffic control tower closures across the country due to $637 million budget cuts under sequestration.
Extending the deadline will give the FAA and airports more time to execute the changes to the National Airspace System, according to a release from the FAA.
The FAA also indicated that approximately 50 airport authorities and other stakeholders across the country have indicated they may join the FAA’s non-Federal Contract Tower program and fund the tower operations themselves.
A number of organizations and communities have filed lawsuits to block the closures, reported Aviation Weekly.
The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and its U.S. Contract Tower Association (USCTA) said the FAA did not explain why it chose contract towers versus cutting other areas in its budget. Also, the organizations say that the agency did not give an explanation as to why certain towers were selected over others.
The FAA told Waukesha County Airport officials they are choosing to close airport towers based on the degree to which the air traffic control tower affects the “national interest,” reported General Aviation News.
Airport General Manager Kurt Stanich told Waukesha Now the airport has 60,000 takeoffs and landings a year, adding the cuts are “unnecessary.”
"We appreciate the FAA's decision to delay the closure of the 149 Air Traffic Control towers in order to more fully assess and mitigate the aviation safety risks associated with their decision," said Stanich in a release. "It is our continued hope that the FAA and our federal legislators will find a way to work toward a resolution that does not impact aviation safety.”