LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) — Golden Triangle Regional Airport plans to use as much as $30,000 a month in airport revenues to keep its air traffic control tower open if the federal government follows through with plans to close it to save money.
The Federal Aviation Administration notified Golden Triangle, Tupelo, Tuscaloosa and all but two other airports in Mississippi that control towers would close April 7 as part of the government’s across-the-board spending cuts. Jackson and Gulfport are the only airports in the state where towers would remain open.
The Golden Triangle board decided to pay to keep the tower open because Columbus Air Force Base is using the airport more for housing planes and training flights while work is done on its main runway.
Golden Triangle also plans to appeal the FAA decision based on the air base’s training mission being in the “nation’s interest.”
The feds have said it would consider that to keep some towers open but said “community impact or interest” would not be a reason.
The FAA plans to release a final list of tower closings on March 18.
Golden Triangle is the state’s third-busiest airport and the only one in the state to see increased passenger counts last year.