Facing federal spending cuts from the Federal Aviation Administration, the city of Stillwater has agreed to pay about $104,000 to keep the air traffic control tower open at Stillwater Regional Airport through the end of September.
The FAA has said it will begin slashing funding to 149 contract air traffic control towers at airports across the country beginning June 15 due to spending cuts forced by sequestration.
Towers on the closure list include four at Oklahoma airports: Stillwater; Max Westheimer in Norman; Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City; and Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport.
Last week, the University of Oklahoma announced it would provide bridge funding to keep the air traffic control tower at Max Westheimer open until the federal budget issues are resolved.
The Stillwater City Council voted Monday night to approve funding to keep the Stillwater tower open until Oct. 1 if the spending cuts take effect.
The funding from the city will allow the airport to keep its control tower open on a reduced schedule if the FAA goes forward with its plans, Airport Director Gary Johnson said. The Stillwater tower will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. under the agreement with the city and will close on Sundays.
“We will be weighing our options during this interim period and are still very hopeful that the FAA will look at cutting areas that do not affect safety,” Johnson said.