Deadline Today for Appeal on Smith-Reynolds Tower Closing
It was a week ago when the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it would close the control tower at Winston-Salem's Smith-Reynolds Airport. Today, March 20th, is the deadline for the airport to appeal that decision.
In an effort to reduce costs by about 600-million dollars, the FAA said the Smith-Reynolds tower, along with towers at a number of other general aviation airports, would close next month. Airport Director Mark Davidson says since the announcement, he’s been working with the Forsyth County Airport Commission to prepare an appeal.
"We've gathered all the relevant data that we could, and recent studies by the Department of Transportation which found that contract towers were so cost-effective and provided safe air traffic services, so we’re using that as well as a recent report by the FAA, ‘A National Asset: General Aviation Airports,’ and how they named us a national airport. So, we’re trying to incorporate all this information and put it all in our appeal, and hopefully we’ll be successful,” Davidson told WFDD News.He also said they’ve been consulting with the Division of Aviation at the state level, "And we had a conference call with all the airport directors at all the airports, like Hickory, New Bern, Kinston, Concord and ourselves… everybody’s going to attempt to appeal this from my understanding.”
The FAA opened such a small window of time between the announcement of the planned closings, and today’s deadline for filing an appeal, Davidson says it really hasn’t been possible to get an idea of what may happen.“I have no idea. It’s kind of disappointing," Davidson commented. "Normally you’d think you’d hear something through the grapevine, but I think it’s been such a quick effort by the FAA and the administration to close all these down, that there really hasn’t been a lot of loose lips at the federal level, that I’ve heard of.”The FAA is scheduled to make a final decision on Wednesday the 20th. If the tower at Smith-Reynolds Airport does close, five people will lose their jobs.