Columbia Regional Airport tower set to close May 5

FAA notified city of closure Wednesday afternoon

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The air traffic control tower at Columbia Regional Airport will cease operations on May 5, according to a letter sent from the Federal Aviation Administration to the city of Columbia Wednesday.

According to a late news release, the tower will be one of the last to close due to federal spending cuts. The other 149 towers will start closing April 7.

The release stated that operations at the COU tower would end "on or about May 5," unless funding was restored by the FAA.

ABC 17 News has been reporting that the tower would close, along with the air traffic control tower in Branson. The Jefferson City Memorial Airport tower was scheduled to remain open until at least the end of September.

The closure of the Columbia Regional tower means air traffic will be controlled out of towers in either Springfield or St. Louis.

The announcement came one day after Columbia Representative Vicky Hartzler visited the airport and vowed to fight to keep the tower open by offering to rearrange the FAA's budget to make cuts elsewhere. Hartzler stated yesterday that keeping the tower open was a safety concern for travelers at COU.

Stay with ABC 17 News and for more on this developing story.

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