Leaders with Cape Girardeau Airport ask for more air traffic controllers

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - More planes have been landing at the Cape Girardeau Airport in the last 6 months, and now airport officials said they may need more help in the air traffic control tower.

There used to be four people available to watch the skies, but for the last few years, there have been just three. Now the airport wants to go back to four.

"Well we've had multiple days where I've worked morning and we've had over 100 take off and landings by 10 o'clock in the morning," said Larry Davis the tower Manager. "That's in 3 hours, just three hours of the day."

The airport is growing, according to Airport manager Bruce Loy. Not just commercially with the new airline taking bigger jets up to Chicago, but also with smaller personal planes. The airport used to be home to around 50-60 jets when they lost their fourth controller position, now its closer to 70. Loy said that this is a good thing but they need to keep up with the growth.

"Growing pains," Loy described them as. "It's a good thing but we do want to be able to respond to it. So you know when things are going well you obviously want to take care of it."

The airport said it's not a safety issue now, but it is increasingly difficult for the three-man crew to cover it all, especially if someone is on vacation and another is sick.

A spokesperson for the City Manager's office, who works with the airport, said that they wish there was a fourth position. But due to the budget staying flat they aren't able to allocate enough funds to the airport. If there is an increased need they say they will reevaluate and try to rearrange funds to make it work.

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