Report: Over 100 Airports Could Close Due to Federal Budget Cuts

Palm Springs Airport

Could airports such as Palm Springs International (pictured) close due to Federal budget cuts if the government doesn't get the tax increases it wants?

Washington, D.C. — According to a new analysis released by the Center for American Progress, as many as 106 U.S. airports could lose air traffic control service—and effectively be shut down—under automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect January 2, 2013.

The column’s author, Scott Lilly, a CAP Senior Fellow and former director of the House Appropriations Committee, used the Federal Aviation Administration as an example to illustrate in vivid detail the effects of automatic spending cuts known as “sequestration.” Unless Washington lawmakers find an alternative approach to cutting the deficit, many federal agencies will in January face $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts over 10 years.

“The FAA is only one small example of the kind of mindless economic chaos that these across-the-board cuts are likely to create,” said Scott Lilly. “National parks will be closed. Key regulatory functions will be curtailed. Law enforcement will be crippled. Border security will be sacrificed. And our capacity to deal with problems around the world like Syria, North Korea, or the new government in Egypt will be compromised.”

The Federal Aviation Administration will have to slash its budget in 2013 by about $1.35 billion, according to Lilly’s calculations. And under the terms of the 2011 law dictating the cuts, FAA officials will be unable to shield air traffic control (or any other FAA-funded service) from cuts. To minimize disruption at major airports, therefore, FAA officials will likely be forced to cut air traffic service at airports where they would have the least impact on the traveling public—the smaller airports.

The crisis facing the Federal Aviation Administration is illustrative of problems every federal agency will face in the coming months, unless Congress finds a smarter way to ease deficits—one that includes a combination of responsible budget cuts and tax increases.

Airports That Could Be Affected:

SAVSavannah/Hilton Head InternationalSavannahGA28785,251
ISPLong Island MacArthurRonkonkomaNY19781,396
SFBOrlando Sanford InternationalSanfordFL19768,938
PSPPalm Springs InternationalPalm SpringsCA13759,510
PNSPensacola RegionalPensacolaFL15750,190
MSNDane County Regional-Truax FieldMadisonWI28741,365
ICTWichita Mid-ContinentWichitaKS41740,675
ACYAtlantic City InternationalEgg Harbor TownshipNJ28668,930
SRQSarasota/Bradenton InternationalSarasotaFL15657,157
MDTHarrisburg InternationalMiddletownPA28655,294
BTVBurlington InternationalSouth BurlingtonVT20636,018
JANJackson-Evers InternationalJacksonMS19615,622
FATFresno Yosemite InternationalFresnoCA32615,320
HSVHuntsville International-Carl T Jones FieldHuntsvilleAL26614,601
ITOHilo InternationalHiloHI19605,101
LEXBlue GrassLexingtonKY24533,952
PHFNewport News/Williamsburg InternationalNewport NewsVA16516,789
LBBLubbock Preston Smith InternationalLubbockTX24503,580
CAEColumbia MetropolitanColumbiaSC31487,474
MAFMidland InternationalMidlandTX28474,423
FNTBishop InternationalFlintMI21473,113
FAIFairbanks InternationalFairbanksAK18438,188
CIDThe Eastern IowaCedar RapidsIA18431,874
ABELehigh Valley InternationalAllentownPA29428,332
FSDJoe Foss FieldSioux FallsSD20418,521
MLIQuad City InternationalMolineIL18412,470
PIESt Petersburg-Clearwater InternationalClearwaterFL17412,136
BILBillings Logan InternationalBillingsMT20407,375
BTRBaton Rouge Metropolitan, Ryan FieldBaton RougeLA23396,403
GPTGulfport-Biloxi InternationalGulfportMS25395,350
ILMWilmington InternationalWilmingtonNC21395,156
EUGMahlon Sweet FieldEugeneOR25393,504
AMARick Husband Amarillo InternationalAmarilloTX19392,815
SBASanta Barbara MunicipalGoletaCA37367,328
AVLAsheville RegionalFletcherNC19361,617
GRBAustin Straubel InternationalGreen BayWI29352,157
SGFSpringfield-Branson NationalSpringfieldMO32349,091
FARHector InternationalFargoND22346,284
CRPCorpus Christi InternationalCorpus ChristiTX46322,903
ROARoanoke Regional/Woodrum FieldRoanokeVA34320,961
TLHTallahassee RegionalTallahasseeFL23305,686
SBNSouth Bend RegionalSouth BendIN25304,988
CHALovell FieldChattanoogaTN22304,399
JNUJuneau InternationalJuneauAK12303,628
MOBMobile RegionalMobileAL30288,461
DABDaytona Beach InternationalDaytona BeachFL56274,166
FWAFort Wayne InternationalFort WayneIN26272,796
AGSAugusta Regional at Bush FieldAugustaGA19267,631
BGRBangor InternationalBangorME22266,373
SHVShreveport RegionalShreveportLA26265,104
FAYFayetteville Regional/Grannis FieldFayettevilleNC26259,445
PIAGreater Peoria RegionalPeoriaIL22249,898
AVPWilkes-Barre/Scranton InternationalAvocaPA23228,367
LFTLafayette RegionalLafayetteLA26222,795
ASEAspen-Pitkin County/Sardy FieldAspenCO13221,256
TRITri-Cities Regional TN/VABlountvilleTN22220,586
BISBismarck MunicipalBismarckND17197,167
MGMMontgomery Regional (Dannelly Field)MontgomeryAL19188,177
LANCapital CityLansingMI25186,341
MRYMonterey PeninsulaMontereyCA12181,640
GCNGrand Canyon National ParkGrand CanyonAZ9172,972
TVCCherry CapitalTraverse CityMI11170,977
EVVEvansville RegionalEvansvilleIN30169,426
GTFGreat Falls InternationalGreat FallsMT14168,158
ACKNantucket MemorialNantucketMA15164,032
ELMElmira/Corning RegionalHorseheadsNY17152,582
AZOKalamazoo/Battle Creek InternationalKalamazooMI21148,634
BFLMeadows FieldBakersfieldCA24148,347
DLHDuluth InternationalDuluthMN21146,578
MBSMBS InternationalFreelandMI18136,594
GFKGrand Forks InternationalGrand ForksND23118,872
ERIErie International/Tom Ridge FieldEriePA21112,749
HTSTri-State/Milton J. Ferguson FieldHuntingtonWV20112,522
RSTRochester InternationalRochesterMN20110,295
BGMGreater Binghamton/Edwin A Link FieldJohnson CityNY16108,172
MLUMonroe RegionalMonroeLA13107,290
STSCharles M. Schulz – Sonoma CountySanta RosaCA10102,414
HLNHelena RegionalHelenaMT14100,695
RFDChicago/Rockford InternationalRockfordIL2896,248
FSMFort Smith RegionalFort SmithAR3184,136
CMIUniversity of Illinois-WillardSavoyIL2383,731
TOLToledo ExpressSwantonOH2481,127
ABIAbilene RegionalAbileneTX2680,434
CSGColumbus MetropolitanColumbusGA978,718
CPRCasper/Natrona County InternationalCasperWY1577,758
SPIAbraham Lincoln CapitalSpringfieldIL1971,862
FLOFlorence RegionalFlorenceSC1668,169
LCHLake Charles RegionalLake CharlesLA2061,325
ACTWaco RegionalWacoTX2261,164
SCKStockton MetropolitanStocktonCA1256,044
TWFJoslin Field – Magic Valley RegionalTwin FallsID1238,533
ROWRoswell International Air CenterRoswellNM1737,262
YNGYoungstown-Warren RegionalViennaOH2237,048
BFIBoeing Field/King County InternationalSeattleWA2434,434
SUXSioux Gateway/Col. Bud Day FieldSioux CityIA1328,137
PUBPueblo MemorialPuebloCO1622,470
ALOWaterloo RegionalWaterlooIA1722,297
GGGEast Texas RegionalLongviewTX2021,112
MRIMerrill FieldAnchorageAK1314,261
MKGMuskegon CountyMuskegonMI2214,101
BPTSoutheast Texas RegionalBeaumontTX1213,670

Image: Flickr kstatelibrarian

What’s your take? Do you think this will happen or is it scare tactic by the Federal government to gain support for tax increases? Sound off in the comments below…


  1. Chris says

    Wahhh??? These aren’t all “small” airports! What would airlines do if they were shut down??

    My guess, in the end ticket prices would merely skyrocket for flights in and out of these destinations. They can’t shut the airports down, that would be horrible for the city economies!

    • Ed Jeszka says

      Chris, you are correct. Not all “small” airports. The sad fact remains that the FAA is a “bloated” governmental agency. A few years ago they held a managers/supervisors meeting in Atlanta. It cost around 5 million bucks. They said it was to review the new contract. The contract had been in effect for months and the meeting was held right before Christmas. A real drunken party. You can only guess at the amount of fraud, waste and abuse that goes on within the FAA.

      If Mr. Huerta really wanted to be a truly proactive administrator worth a pinch of salt he would probably be able to come up with the biggest part of the budget shortfall by stopping the phony enforcement actions taking place daily, stopping the perks given to managers in the form of bonuses, stop the wasted travel, review the currency and DPE authorizations and finally just get rid of the dead weight at 800 Independence Ave, including offices like the FAA-AAE that was started with good intentions but has been found to be distributing instructions on how to circumvent the OSC request for information on FAA failures and simply questionable actions. How about the Head of the Western Hemisphere or some such ridiculous title making somewhere around $200,000 as a reward while her spouse is taking down a pretty hefty amount as an FAA lawyer. And then the wife of one of the White House right hand men to the president made chief counsel without any aviation experience. I think you can call this a scare tactic from within the FAA and as such should immediately eliminate Mr. Huerta from consideration for a five year term as Administrator. His first move should have been to tell the public that he will examine every area possible before he got down to closing 106 towers. Why not eliminate that many useless thugs in AVS that have had more than 5 complaints about their integrity or their abuse of authority and leave air traffic alone.

      If we had knowledgeable, competent managers and supervisors within the FAA this scare tactic would have certainly been avoided. Cut the waste and non-productive spending that has no impact on aviation safety. That would make up a rather large part of the mess they are in. Then they can stop moving people around for disciplinary reasons and then paying the freight. So many ways and so little time.

  2. Richard Wyeroski says

    Hi All:

    This is a complete ploy to scare the public. The economic impact of “SHUTTING DOWN” 94 regional airports in will severely up set the economy.

    The real problem is FAA Fraud, Waste and Abuse the is out of control.

    As Ed clearly lays out, the FAA Flight Standards is simply out of control.

    This is nothing more the the FAA Misleading Congress. The people responsible should be removed and put in jail

    Richard Wyeroski

  3. Jim says

    As a retired ATC I say that the first big event Daytona 500 when the rich people cannot fly there friend into DAY or cannot get onto Aspen to ski they will demand they pass a budget. Money talks bull&$%# walks

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