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Glacier Park International Airport's air traffic tower to close

By Rebecca Vogt, KCFW Reporter, rvogt@kcfw.com
Published On: Mar 22 2013 01:32:33 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 22 2013 10:46:52 PM MDT
KALISPELL, Mont. -

In an announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration Friday afternoon, 149 airport towers have been slated to close starting in early April. On that list is Glacier Park International Airport, and frequent fliers aren't happy.

"I'll be flying out of there next month," said Kalispell resident Cathi Spence. "As a traveler I'm kind of concerned. I would think that that's a pretty important job, running the tower."

"I don't want to fly at all anymore," said fellow resident Judy Stevenson. "Train. I'll take a train."

Glacier's Airport Director, Cindi Martin, wrote a letter to the FAA on March 15th, slamming the idea of closing the tower. She said it would "unacceptably compromise safety," because of the mountainous terrain and ever changing weather. Weather conditions are often reported by controllers to pilots as they descend into the valley.

"It seems like our airport is large enough that we have a lot of traffic that comes in and out," said Spence. "And we've got all these mountains. I think it'd be pretty dangerous not to have someone controlling all of that."

In a statement Friday, Martin says, "The Administration has made the US aviation system - airports, airlines, and the flying public - the poster child for sequestration. This is politics at it's ugliest and will come at great cost of our economy and safety." Martin concluded that she and the entire Montana congressional delegation will continue to fight this decision.