Jacob calls FAA’s decision to close Ramona Airport control tower ‘wrong-headed’
Ramona Airport traffic control tower is among the 149 control towers nationwide that will close due to sequestration, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday.
The decision to close the Ramona tower came despite opposition from San Diego County supervisors and Congressman Duncan Hunter, who contend that the closure will jeopardize aerial firefighting in a region prone to wildfire.
“They definitely know what the issue is,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, whose District 2 includes Ramona. “This is so critical. We will continue to make the FAA aware it is a wrong-headed decision.”
Ramona Airport serves as an air attack base for Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service. The tower was staffed after three people died in an aerial collision involving federal firefighting aircraft in 1995.
“We want to prevent another mid-air collision, another disaster. Lives are at stake,” said Jacob.
In a letter to the FAA, Hunter stated: “Reverting to the safety standards that led to this tragedy is a disservice to the more than 3 million residents who live in the region and the first responders that risk their lives to protect them.”
Jacob said the Ramona tower is becoming a poster child for the closures. She has been interviewed by CNN and received a call from CBS radio in New York.
The 149 control towers will close over a four-week period, beginning April 7.
Also on the closure list in Southern California are Brown Field in San Diego, Fullerton Municipal Airport, and Riverside Municipal Airport.
“We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
In early March, the FAA proposed closing 189 air traffic control towers as part of its plan to meet the $637 million in cuts required under federal budget sequestration but said it would consider keeping any open if it was in national interest. The Hawthorne Municipal Airport was one that was saved in California.
Also on the saved list is Santa Monica Airport, which will be considered in a later round of cuts, according to the FAA. The FAA said it was targeting towers at airports with less than 150,000 takeoffs and landings and less than 10,000 commercial flights a year.
Jacob said she will continue to fight the closure of the Ramona tower. She urged residents to contact Congressional leaders, U.S. senators, and
President Obama. “Why not go all out?” she said.
- FAA to decide on Ramona Airport control tower closure on Friday
- Supervisors oppose closing Ramona Air Traffic Control Tower
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