Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close

Aviation attorney and Arizona State University Professor Michael Pearson said the skies are as safe as they've ever been, despite the FAA announcement that 149 control towers would be shut down.

Four of the towers are in Arizona: Phoenix-Goodyear Airport, Glendale Municipal Airport, Laughlin-Bullhead International Airport and Ryan Field in Tucson. The announcement was made last week.

Closures will begin to take effect April 7.

The decision made some people nervous about pilots directing air traffic themselves.

"This isn't a new thing. This goes on at airports across the country that do not have air-traffic controllers," said Pearson.

"A lot of commercial airports with air-traffic controllers will lose their controlling staffing at certain time, but commercial flights will come in after the controllers are off and land at the airport."

The decision to close the control towers is all part of a larger political game, according to Pearson.

As a former control-tower operator, he said he's seen the federal agency try to scare the public with similar rhetoric.

"Lots of folks travel and lots of folks don't know the ins and outs of the way the FAA operates and the way the system operates," Pearson said. "So they threaten to close certain facilities and people get nervous, they talk to their politicians to bend to the will."

As for his students who want to become tower-control operators, Pearson has been telling them jobs will still be there.

Aaron Granillo, News Editor

share this story:
Attention Comment Users: We have recently changed our comments boards.
We would like you to be part of the conversation and The Voice of Arizona by logging in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing KTAR (Arizona Sports) account members will need to create a Disqus account or use one of the aforementioned social media logins. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus

World Class Arizona

  • Dignity Health

    World Class People. World Class Company. Excellent care, delivered with compassion, for all in need.
  • Family in Focus

    KTAR spends the week taking a look at the issues a modern Arizona family faces.