FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2008 file photo, navigation controls are seen in the cockpit of a FAA Gulfstream jet at a hangar at Washington's Reagan National Airport. Industry officials say the federal program to create a new air traffic control system is at a crossroads, making delays possible. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Federal Aviation Administration plans to close two air traffic control towers in West Tennessee to save money.
The FAA announced Friday that 149 contract towers will close at smaller airports around the country starting in early April. The shutdowns will help the agency cut nearly $650 million, part of the across-the-board federal spending cuts known as sequestration.
The FAA said the Tennessee towers to close are at McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport in Jackson and Millington Regional Jetport near Memphis. Those airports will remain open but pilots will have to coordinate takeoffs and landings without help from ground controllers.
The federal agency decided not to shut down the tower at the Smyrna airport. It was among 24 towers previously on the closure list that were spared Friday.