GI Airport Vows to Fight Threat of Tower Closure


Back on the chopping block -- Grand Island's airport tower could fall victim to politics after all. But Rep. Adrian Smith says it's a matter of safety to keep it open.

While dozens of towers will close, the one in Grand Island stays open.

But it may be a temporary reprieve. It could close at the end of September without federal intervention.

Rep. Smith visited the airport on Tuesday. He said, "A lot of folks like to fly out of Grand Island and certainly I don't want to see any federal initiatives undermine safety. I want the FAA to do what they need to do with providing safety measures we know are necessary."

Some airports are threatening lawsuits. Grand Island officials say they're not going down without a fight, saying they've made great progress and don't want the government to change that.

Airport Director Mike Olson said, "If you close these towers, you're going to send the economy backwards again and we can't afford that in rural America."

This tower is part of a cost-share. The airport said it doesn't have money in its budget to keep it open and would rather focus on their plans for a terminal expansion.

The airport this week is also going through the process of renewing its federal flight subsidy. American Eagle bid just under $2 million to continue operating daily jet service to Dallas, something local airport officials praised.