CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - More work, small staffs, tighter budgets. These are issues facing companies everywhere. Now, the Cape Girardeau Airport also feels the pressure when it comes to manning the control tower. Right now 3 staff members share a 70 hour work week, 365 days a year.
"Everyone would like to have more help," said Control Tower Chief, Larry Davis. "But we also must balance budget considerations."
Davis says more help in the tower at the busy airport would be a bonus.
"There are days when we average over 200 takeoffs and landings," said Davis. "Because of our runway set up it would benefit to have increased hours of the day."
The needs comes at a time when air traffic control towers top national headlines. Thursday, the FAA admits to the sixth incident of a worker falling asleep on the job. Now talk of stricter regulations would put more workers in federal towers at a time.
But in Cape, there's a catch. The tower is owned by the city. So, if the FAA puts out a mandate to have more than one person in federal towers working at a time, they can only recommend Cape Girardeau's facility does the same. Cape's control tower is not required to comply. It would be up to the city to make room in the budget for extra staff.
"With only three workers, we have to be careful how we schedule time off," said Developmental Services Director, Ken Eftink. "We are going through the budget process now and that is something we are looking at. We are looking at money in the budget for a part-time position."
Meanwhile, as a pilot and an airport board member, Robert Cork says it's easier to access an airport with a tower.
"We asked if the tower could stay open 12 hours a day," said Cork.
Cork says he feels the tower makes Cape Girardeau a more attractive destination and another reason why it's worthwhile for the city to increase the hour it's open and the number of people on staff.
"It's safer," said Cork. "And when businesses like Target or P&G bring people in it's easier for their pilots to get in and out."
Eftink says the tower is perfectly safe, and point out not every airport has a tower. Pilots use radio frequencies to communicate with each other when there is no tower or the tower is closed.