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Control towers at 149 small airports to stay open

May. 11, 2013 @ 12:22 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Aviation Administration will keep open for now the 149 control towers at small airports that were slated to close as the result of governmentwide automatic spending cuts imposed by Congress, the Transportation Department said Friday.

The towers, which are operated by contractors for the FAA at low-traffic airports, had been scheduled to close June 15. They will now remain open at least through Sept. 30, the end of the federal budget year, the department said in a statement.

A bill hastily passed by Congress last month to end air traffic controller furloughs also makes enough money available to keep the towers open, the statement said. The bill gave the FAA authority to shift $253 million from accounts with unspent funds to keep controllers on the job. The furloughs at all FAA-operated airport towers and air traffic control facilities caused widespread flight delays across the country for nearly a week before Congress stepped in.

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