FAA to close 8 air traffic towers in Wisconsin

CREATED Mar 22, 2013 - UPDATED: Mar 22, 2013

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Federal Aviation Administration says it will close eight air traffic towers at small airports around Wisconsin because of federal budget cuts.

The agency announced the decision Friday, a month after it released a preliminary list of facilities that could be closed. The Wisconsin airports are in Eau Claire, Janesville, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee's Lawrence J. Timmerman, Mosinee, Oshkosh and Waukesha.

Pilots will be left to coordinate takeoffs and landings among themselves over a shared radio frequency with no help from ground controllers, which they've been trained to do.

Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport was on a previous list of airports whose control towers could go dark during overnight hours. But that list hasn't been released yet and airport spokesman Harold Mester said Friday he hasn't heard any updates.

According to the list released, the towers in Wisconsin that will be closing are Mosinee, Eau Claire, Kenosha, Janesville, Oshkosh, Waukesha and Milwaukee (Timmerman).

Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport said people need to start arriving at the airport early because of the cuts.

"Due to federal budget reductions impacting TSA staffing throughout the US, TSA suggests passengers arrive at MKE 2 hours before their flight," the airport tweeted Friday.