FAA Plans to Close Control Towers at Three Atlanta-Area Airports

Mar 7, 2013

The control tower at Cobb County's McCollum Field is one of 163 scheduled for closure in April due to federal budget cuts.
Credit Cobb County Airport-McCollum Field

The Federal Aviation Administration has told nearly 200 airports to get ready to shut down their control towers next month.

That includes three airports in metro Atlanta: Briscoe Field in Gwinnett County, Charlie Brown Airport in Fulton County, and Cobb County Airport at McCollum Field.

About 170 flights go in or out of McCollum each day. The control tower is open 16 hours per day and has six full-time controllers.

McCollum Field’s Airport Manager Karl Von Hagel says the safety of everyone flying in or out of metro Atlanta will potentially be compromised. According to Von Hagel, the air traffic controllers at the smaller airports help each other and Hartsfield-Jackson International.

“We’re located under the world’s busiest air space right here in Atlanta,” said Von Hagel.  “And these controllers keep everybody separated, everybody organized.  If the control tower does end up closing on April 7th, the pilots will have to take that burden on themselves.”

Von Hagel says he has been given no end date for the tower closure, and he expects to lose business. He says the Cobb County Airport currently contributes more than a $100 million each year to the local economy.