Cornell students seeking to fly high above Cayuga's waters could be patronizing other airports in future months due to the effects of the March 1 federal sequester.
The automatic across-the-board budget cuts hurt the FAA, prompting the closure of 173 small airport control towers nationwide. Among the list was the local Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, whose control tower is set to shut down April 7.
Elmira is prepared to take over the Ithaca dispatch, but this new move could bring flight delays and worker layoffs locally. Assistant airport manager of the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport Tony Rudy said busier areas of the country might have to provide bigger space between planes flying into Ithaca, as a result of the air traffic control merger.
Back in 2011, President Obama approved the Budget Control Act, which raised the nation's debt ceiling, pressuring Congress to find areas to reduce spending. Failure to find cuts before the March deadline put a dent into the FAA funds. However, Congress is allowed to restructure cuts from the sequestration until April 1, kindling some hope for Ithaca's control tower.