Anthony Ceglio, Gabreski's airport manager, said there will be adverse affects if the Federal Government allows a serious of "sequestrian" cuts to go through and as a result, shut down Westhampton's Gabreski Airport's tower.
"The possible closure of the air traffic control tower at Gabreski Airport will have an impact on the way aircraft use the airport," said Ceglio, after Congressman Tim Bishop announced the possible closure of the tower on Friday.
Under the cut, which will also affect 100 other airport towers across the country, Ceglio said the Suffolk-County owned Gabreski airport would convert to "non-tower" operations at all times.
The 69-year-old airport, which handles 75,000 operations each year, consisting of corporate jets, private aircraft, can and will remain open, but the airspace within five miles, currently under the control of the tower, will be uncontrolled, explained Ceglio.
"Pilots will be responsible for safe separation between aircraft landing and taking off," he said.
That makes at least one resident nervous, who commented on Patch: "If this tower is closed the whole place should close. The homes in the area should not be in danger. Close the whole place down."
The airport has also come under scrutiny in the last year by residents who have complained of noise, but Ceglio, has assured residents that wind patterns are to blame and the airport features a complaint section on its website.
Operating without air traffic control, however, is not a new concept at Gabreski, said Ceglio, since the airport is currently uncontrolled during less busy night hours now.
Under the cut, however, the airport's seven full-time air traffic controllers stand to lose their jobs.
And Ceglio said an additional effect on the airport could be a decrease in the number of operations from all aircraft reducing revenue generated by that businesses that sell fuel, parking, and catering.
The closure, said Ceglio, could also pose a problem to the air national guard's operations — the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard is located at Gabreski and its flights account for 20 percent of all take offs and landings at Gabreski.
Ceglio said the 106th has yet to determine how exactly a closure would affect their operations and what it's plans will be.
- Gabreski Airport Tower Faces Closure
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