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Some state airports bracing for closings due to sequester cuts


MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Wisconsin airports both large and small are bracing for the possible closings of their air traffic control towers as part of the federal sequestration cuts.

The airports had until Monday to explain why they should be spared – and the FAA and Congress have until Friday to decide.

The cuts would begin April 7th.

At Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee, officials hope their service is ranked high enough to avoid the cuts. State Senate Republican Jerry Petrowski of Marathon said he and others in Madison have no say on what Washington does. But he said the state is preparing to do what it can to help where it’s needed.

In Milwaukee County, officials expect Mitchell International Airport to lose its controllers for late night flights – while Milwaukee’s much smaller Timmerman Field will lose its control service altogether.

County Supervisor Patricia Jursik said it’s unacceptable that towers are being closed in densely-populated areas like Milwaukee.

The closing of the towers will not stop the flights themselves. Officials say pilots will use “see and observe” operations, just like those commonly used at small airfields.