LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- The sequester, a package of about $85 billion in automatic spending cuts for the remainder of the year, is set to take effect Friday. That is unless Congress can agree a budget deal.
The sequester cuts could mean the La Crosse Airport becomes an uncontrolled airfield, meaning it would operate without the air traffic controllers.
The control tower has four full time employees. The airport manager, Clinton Torp, says if the cuts are made, they could be out of a job.
The La Crosse airport has about seven commercial flights a day, but Torp says travelers wouldn't notice a difference because many airports do operate safely without air traffic controllers.
"Generally the commercial airports do have towers, it's not uncommon to have uncontrolled commercial airports though either," Torp said. "It's perfectly safe. Pilots train from the very beginning on how to communicate on uncontrolled fields."
If the sequester happens, it's not a guarantee the tower would close. However if it does happen, pilots would communicate with controllers at other airports. Then, around the La Crosse airport they would communicate amongst themselves.
Torp says what could make more of an impact on travelers, is if layoffs happen at bigger airports and effect the number of commercial flights those airports can handle.
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