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West // West Oahu News
MidWeek Staff

Kalaeloa Air Traffic Tower To Stay Open

Despite the closure of air traffic control towers around the nation because of the recent sequestration, the Federal Aviation Administration has decided to keep open the tower at Kalaeloa Airport.

Though it had been previously decided to close it, U.S. Sen. Mazie K.

Hirono sent the FAA a letter last month in an attempt to sway its decision.

She wrote that the tower is vital to the role it plays for the Coast Guard and in assuring air safety.

“The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) uses Kalealoa as its primary base of operations to launch search and rescue missions – missions that occur at the drop of a hat, 365 days per year,” Hirono told the FAA.

She also cited the control tower as being important to the operations of Hawaii’s Air National Guard (HANG), especially in the event of an emergency.

“Hawaii Air National Guard has the ability and responsibility to respond to both human and natural disasters should they arise,” she stated, “and it supports the efforts of the U.S. military in these and other circumstances.”

In light of recent budget cuts, the FAA had originally named 189 towers for closure last month. Kalaeloa is one of 24 that were spared.

“I’m glad that the FAA came to the same conclusion,” Hirono noted. “Closing the tower would have cost Hawaii air traffic controllers jobs and hurt local general aviation companies.”

The Kalaeloa tower is in the Kapolei area.

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