North Texas Regional Airport control tower future uncertain - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

North Texas Regional Airport control tower future uncertain

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX - Budget cuts in Washington could mean closings in Texoma. Forced budget cuts are hitting the FAA hard, effecting airports across the nation, and the North Texas Regional Airport here in Grayson County could soon feel it too.

Right now the North Texas Regional Airport isn't on the 6 page FAA list of airports with control towers on the chopping block.

That's because it's still funded by the county, but the airport director says that could change this year.

The North Texas Regional Airport is staying busy these days.

"Business is picking up, we've picked up new businesses and so forth, traffic is up, fuel flowage is up."

2012 was their best year since 2008 when the economy started tanking.

Airport Director, Mike Shahan, says things could soon slow down, if they lose funding for the air traffic control tower.

Something Shahan says could be dangerous.

"I would say yes, especially with the large number of operations we have, it would effect safety."

Right now the county funds the tower, an arrangement that's supposed to be temporary.

Shahan says they've applied to get into the Contract Tower Program with the FAA.

A program that's already lost 75% of it's budget due to forced cuts.

If the tower has to be closed, several area businesses will take a direct hit, starting with the U.S. Aviation Flight School that's brought in 80 students and is still adding.

"One of the main reasons is we have a control tower, so without that they may close down."

And the loss of the control tower, would also mean the loss of lot's of business.

Like corporate jets who are required to land at airports with control towers.

"It's kind of a domino effect, less business out here effects everyone who works out here and how they pay their bills and so forth."

The Grayson County Commissioners Court will decide this September if they'll continue funding the tower.