MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS)
Congressman Bill Enyart talked with leaders in southern Illinois about the Federal Aviation Agency's decision to close traffic control towers.
Enyart visited with airport leaders in southern Illinois, aviation students and the community Tuesday at the Jackson County Airport.
Enyart discussed their concerns about the closure of the Jackson County Airport control tower and how the community can respond and overcome this setback.
Jeff McMillian, Air Traffic Control manager, feels it is important that this tower stays open for safety reasons.
Southern Illinois University Chancellor Rita Cheng believes the closure of this tower will impact them by decreasing enrollment and quality of education. She feels other universities with a control tower can say they have a better program than the SIU Aviation Flight program.
"This is a step backwards," said SIU Aviation Flight Instructor Courtney Copping. "Without a tower, we are forced to make cuts in other areas."
Copping says if they had to close the tower, they should at least delay it until the end of the semester so current students can still get the best education until they get out of class. At that point, they can look at figuring out what to do in terms of what is best for the program.
Enyart says he will take their concerns back to Washington to fight this. He feels they can make cuts elsewhere which won't affect the airport, SIU program and the community as much as closing down all of the traffic control towers. Enyart has already written to the FAA administrator to challenge the decision to close airport towers in southern Illinois.