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FAA delays closing of airport control towers

Thomas Close, a retired United Airlines pilot, has a perfect landing at the Whiteman Airport in Pacoima Friday, March 22, 2013.

April 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The shutting down of control towers at small airports across the country has been delayed by federal regulators.

The closures were part of the first wave of the nationwide closures that result from government automatic spending cuts and were set to begin this weekend under "sequestration."

Operations were set to be suspended at Southern California airports in Fullerton, Oxnard, Riverside, Victorville and Lancaster, as well as Whiteman Airport, which is run by L.A. County's Department of Public Works.

The Southern California locations were among 149 federal contract towers nationwide expected to close over a four-week span beginning Sunday.

The Federal Aviation Administration, however, postponed the closures Friday until June 15. Under the new schedule, the closures will be implemented at once, rather than a gradual phase-in as had been planned.

The FAA says it needs more time to deal with legal challenges to the closures.

According to the FAA, some airport authorities around the country have indicated they hope to fund tower operations themselves to prevent the closures, and the delay would help them finalize those plans.

CNS and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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