DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Federal Aviation Administration plans to close the control tower at Detroit's Coleman A. Young International Airport – the facility many know as "Detroit City Airport."
The FAA announced the move Tuesday in a letter to contractors who operate many of the airport control towers across the country.
The city's airport, located on Conner Street at Gratiot Avenue, is among 173 small airports whose towers are slated to be shut down on April 7, according to an industry organization.
Joel Bacon, a spokesperson for the American Association of Airport Executives, tells 7 Action News that the close of Detroit's tower and the others throughout the country comes as a result of federal sequestration cuts.
Bacon's group represents contractors used by the FAA to operate some of the towers. He says he is concerned that safety issues could result from the airport control tower closings. Today, his group sent a letter to the FAA asking them to reconsider.
The Detroit tower is not the only one in Michigan that will close. Small airports in Battle Creek, Jackson and Marquette also have towers that are operated by unionized contractors and are on the list to be closed.
The Ann Arbor Municipal Airport and the Muskegon County Airport have control towers staffed by FAA employees, not contractors, but are also on the list of facilities where towers will be closed.
A closed tower does not mean that an airport is unable to operate.
It is not unusual for small airports to operate without a control tower. When there is no control tower – or when the tower is unstaffed – pilots must coordinate their takeoffs and landings with one another.