Federal budget 'sequestration' could close 4 Minn. air traffic control towers


If the automatic federal budget cuts known as "sequestration" go into effect March 1, the Federal Aviation Administration says it will have to slash $600 million from its budget -- a move that would affect at least four air traffic control towers in Minnesota, MinnPost reports.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood detailed the scenario Friday in Washington, D.C. He warned that travelers could expect delays as soon as April, as furloughs, as well as other staffing reductions of air traffic controllers and closures of smaller air traffic control towers, would take place nationwide.

On the FAA's list of closures are air traffic control towers at Anoka County-Blaine Airport, Flying Cloud Airport, Crystal Airport and St. Cloud Regional Airport.

Despite the threat of closures, Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Pat Hogan told MinnPost the closures "wouldn't have a dramatic impact on pilots using the airports" since at least three of them -- Anoka County-Blaine Airport, Flying Cloud and Crystal -- don't service commercial flights and are used for general aviation.

Hogan also noted that a lot of similar airports around the country already operate without air traffic control towers.

The St. Cloud airport, meanwhile, does service commercial flights, but Minnesota Public Radio's Bob Collins -- who is a pilot -- said "in the absence of a controller, there are radio procedures for keeping an orderly flow of traffic."

Hogan does not have details yet on how the air traffic control furloughs would affect Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Read LaHood's detailed announcement of the budget cuts here.

If federal lawmakers don't come to a budget agreement by next Friday, about $85 billion in cuts are set to take effect.

Next Up

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Antoine Winfield Jr. says playoff win was "for my pops back in '09"

The son of the Vikings legend did not forget about "Bountygate."

Jared Vanderbilt

Shorthanded Timberwolves fall to Atlanta in Monday matinee

D'Angelo Russell scored 31 points, but didn't have much help.

police lights

Man, 72, critical after possible robbery outside Minneapolis business

The 72-year-old sustained gunshot wounds in the incident.


It could take months to vaccinate MN teachers, people 65 and older

"This is going to be harder than going to Ticketmaster and trying to get Bruce Springsteen tickets," Walz said.

Herb Brooks statue

Trump's planned statue garden would include 2 Minnesotans, others with MN links

But there were some notable names absent from the wide-ranging and eclectic list.

k9 zeke

Petition seeks to allow retired Corcoran officer to keep K9 partner

Corcoran's public safety director says if K9 Zeke is donated to the officer it will be a loss for the department.


Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 18

The latest update from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Tom Kelly Jr.

Tom Kelly Jr., son of Twins World Series manager, dies at 42

He was a member of the 2001 UST national championship team.

Hennepin County CSI

Police: Man shot in the head by woman in Richfield

It happened in the early hours of Monday.