North Bend on list to lose air traffic control

NORTH BEND, Ore. -- The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it will likely close the control tower at the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport.

The closure of a tower means that pilots flying in and out of North Bend will have to coordinate their takeoff and landing with each other instead of having an air traffic controller coordinate planes on the ground.

The airport says it plans to provide normal airline passenger service, even without a control tower.

"At all the airports that are losing, and that could lose, their air traffic control tower services, will stay open," said Theresa Cook, the airport's executive director. "They will just not have an operating tower unless they pay for it or provide funding for that."

The closure is a part of the federal government's sequestration of funds to the US Department of Transportation.

The FAA says North Bend and other Oregon airports are among 238 small airports under consideration nationwide with low traffic volumes and control towers operated by contractors.

The FAA is to make a decision by March 18 on closing about 170 of them. Officials at North Bend told KCBY News in Coos Bay they know they are on the list of 170 slated to close.

The Oregon airports are in Klamath Falls, North Bend, Pendleton, Salem and Troutdale.

The Associated Press contributed to this report