By Randy McClain
The Columbus Municipal Airport flight control tower is three weeks away from being closed for lack of funds, but airfield board members and corporations that use the facility’s two runways daily are downplaying the economic impact and insisting that travel remains safe.
“It’s not going to have much of an impact on our operations, although we’re disappointed how the government has gone about this,” said Brad Stinebring, director of corporate aviation for engine maker Cummins Inc., which keeps four company aircraft at the Columbus airport — three jets and one German-made turboprop craft.
“I was surprised the airport tower’s being closed. We as an aviation industry have worked hard to mitigate risks in air travel and a tower provides another set of eyes to guide aircraft. That said, I don’t expect the tower’s closure to affect how or how often we use the airport,” said Chris Sdun, director of flight operations for Toyota Material Handling Inc., the parent company of Toyota’s industrial forklift plant six miles south of Columbus.