Mid-Missouri leaders are fighting to keep airport towers from shutting down. Both Columbia and Jefferson City stand to lose their towers due to the $85 Billion in budget cuts that took effect Saturday at midnight. Columbia City leaders now reaching out to lawmakers for help and are sending a letter urging congressional leaders to not close the airport traffic control tower as one of its cuts. City Council members said it would be a safety risk because traffic at the airport would be monitored in Kansas City or Springfield.Council members even brought up an example from a few weeks ago when a private plane with engine issues had to make an emergency landing in Columbia. They said this wouldn’t have been safe or possible if the local air traffic control tower was gone. The council also approved having a consultant move forward on developing possible costs and plans for a new terminal, despite the uncertainty from the federal budget.Council members, the mayor and the city manager say the current status of the airport is exceeding expectations in expansion and the number of people flying. They noted the Frontier debacle was unfortunate but it did prove demand for flights is there.Now they just hope a new potential risk to those flyers, and pilots will not be added by any elimination of towers or employees.The airport could also move from being under public works to being its own department under the city manager. Currently this is just in talks but city leaders said they see it happening at some point.
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