With Georgetown and San Marcos losing their air traffic control towers due to sequestration-related budget cuts, one private aviation business owner is concerned the impact could be harmful to Austin and Central Texas.
Last week, the FAA announced 149 air traffic control towers across the country would be closed down. This does not mean entire airport closures. But Jay Carpenter, secretary of the Texas Aviation Association, told KUT News last week that the closures just make the airports less safe.
“It’s like a traffic cop at an intersection. You want to watch what’s going on and that way most people can get through the intersection without getting in an accident," Carpenter said. "Without the control towers, the risk of disaster will go up.”
Private aviation business owner Rene Banglesdorf said she is concerned the tower closures could negatively impact Central Texas. She said her companies, Charlie Bravo Aviation and Charlie Bravo Charter, might take a hit.
"There are a number of businesses or corporate flight departments that require their aircraft to land in controlled air space, and that would mean controlled by an air traffic control tower," Bangelsdorf said.
Bangelsdorf said it is a misconception that people working or contracting in the private aviation company are rich and luxurious. She said many of the businesses she works with are small business owners, such as ranch owners who need her services to reach areas that are normally inaccessible via commercial flight.
"Sometimes there are people who need to get to those remote areas that are nearly impossible to get to by commercial air,” she said.
Bangelsdorf also predicted this will result in increased traffic at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.