Bay area airports among 173 air traffic control towers that may close, FAA says list not final

Small airports nationwide will see effects

TAMPA BAY - The U.S. spending cuts, also known as the "sequester" that went into effect March 1 could lead to the closing of 173 traffic control towers at small regional airports across U.S., two of them being in the Bay area.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a list of airports that could loose their traffic control facilities on April 7, however the FAA denies that this is the final confirmed list. ( See the list here:  http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/media/Facilities_Could_Be_Closed.pdf )

The potentially affected towers for the Bay area include Lakeland-Linder Airport in Lakeland and Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg.

Many believe this could be a disaster, considering the change would leave pilots without any assistance. Albert Witted has previously experienced a number of crashes. 

If there is a glimmer of hope though, it lies with appeals. The FAA has stated the airports affected would have a chance to try to stop the closures, but there are no guarantees. 

So while nothing is final just yet, it still seems the future of these two Bay Area airports is no doubt up in the air.

But why close the towers completely? 

While the FAA has not immediately responded to comment request, a national aviation official told ABC News a lot of these smaller airports can get contract towers to continue to provide air traffic control services at millions less on average.

There has been no announcement that Lakeland-Linder nor Albert Whitted Airports will be closing up shop for good, but without towers, these smaller airports will have to find the funding to get outsourced controllers to get through their everyday operations.

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