FAA delays closing towers; 2 in Minn. spared

The Federal Aviation Administration says it will delay closing nearly 150 air traffic control towers until June 15.

The towers were scheduled to close this month because of federal budget cuts.

Two of the towers are in Minnesota: the Anoka County-Blaine Airport and the St. Cloud Regional Airport.

This was the third time the FAA has delayed the closing of the tower in St. Cloud, said Mayor Dave Kleis.

"That date has changed from April 1 to April 21 and now till June," Kleis said, "and we're hoping that it's taken off of any date and deadline."

Kleis said the delay will allow more time to lobby Congress to come up with a long-term solution.

"Hopefully, they can come up with different ways of dealing with that budget issue than closing our tower," he said.

The FAA announced the air traffic control tower closings last month. Since then several airports around the county have sued the agency over the shutdown.

In a release on Friday, the FAA said the "additional time will allow the agency to attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions."

The airports themselves will not close and aircraft can still safely land in uncontrolled airspace.

Earlier this week the St. Cloud Airport canceled its summer air show. The Navy's Blue Angels flight demo squad was scheduled as the main attraction, but because of federal budget cuts, the team was unable to confirm the performance.

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