Midway control tower overnight closing would face opposition

April 9, 2013 2:49:24 PM PDT
Many questions are being raised about the possible closing of the tower at Midway Airport during overnight hours. It's one of many airport towers across the country that could be affected by the budget cuts from the sequester.

Each day, Midway Airport sees more than 500 flights. Air traffic controllers are critical to the safe takeoffs and landings. The FAA is considering reducing overnight controllers as a result of the sequester.

Congressman Dan Lipinski has asked the FAA administrator to take Midway off the list, saying he is in strong opposition to the potential overnight closure.

Tuesday, the congressman said he is still waiting for a response.

"This will cut the number of planes that can take off and land at Midway," said Lipinski. "You'll have passengers that will have flights cancelled, diverted. This will definitely hurt Midway Airport."

The majority of flights at Midway are operated by Southwest Airlines.

"At this point it's a waiting game," said Southwest's Chris Mainz. "But we are having discussions both internally and with the FAA, trying to anticipate what changes might be coming."

Locally, Chicago's Commissioner of Aviation Rosemarie Andolino is also waiting to see what happens.

"We're going to wait and be prepared to do what we need to do to continue safe and efficient operations," said Andolino.

Midway has flights operating 24 hours a day.

Regardless of the possible reduction to overnight operations, the city plans to keep the airport open.


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