Felts Field Airport Sues To Stop Tower Closure

Felts Field Airport asking for safety study.

Felts Field Tower

Felts Field Tower

** Spokane's Felts Field control tower**

The airport board for Felts Field Airport (KSFF) in Spokane, Washington, is suing the FAA to block the shutdown of its control tower, one of 149 facilities due for closure as part of agency sequestration cuts.

The FAA has notified the airport that it will shut down the Felts Field tower on April 7. The closure is part of the FAA's plan to trim $637 million in spending from its budget.

The airport board has asked the FAA to delay the closure while the court reviews the lawsuit. The board argues that the FAA has “entirely failed to apply” its own safety management standards in deciding to close the tower. A safety review, the airport board argues, is among legal obligations which “are not excused by the sequestration legislation.”

Felts Field has a 4,500-foot runway and handles about 52,000 takeoffs and landings annually, just under the average of 54,000 flights for airports slated to lose contract tower services. The shutdowns will be phased in over four weeks starting next month. As many as 1,100 controllers and supervisors may lose their jobs as a result of the contract tower closures.