The Federal Aviation Administration has pushed back the start of its tower-closure program to June 15.
The agency was to have begun shutting down 149 regional airport towers in phases last Sunday. The tower closures are being imposed to meet the FAA’s $637 million in cuts required by sequestration.
The extra time has been added in order to address legal challenges to the closures. This two-month extension will also allow airport authorities to join the FAA’s non-Federal Contract Tower program, which would put the funding onus on the private entities.
“This has been a complex process and we need to get this right,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “Safety is our top priority. We will use this additional time to make sure communities and pilots understand the changes at their local airports.”
Last month, the FAA decided to spare 40 towers that had initially been selected for closure due to a national interest in keeping the towers open. The list of cuts includes 14 towers in Florida, 13 towers in Texas, nearly a dozen towers in California and pockets of closures in states throughout the country. Three California towers and four towers in Florida were among those taken off the initial closure list due to national interest concerns.