Tower closure could hurt Naples economy
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NAPLES, Fla.- The Naples Airport plans on suing the FAA after forced federal budget cuts will close its air traffic control tower by May.
March is one of the busiest months at the airport so dealing with these cuts now comes at a bad time. The traffic control tower is set to close May 5. So what does this mean for our local economy? The Florida Department of Transportation estimates the airport's economic value is worth more than $273 million dollars annually.
"Besides from people coming here for meetings you understand these people spend money so it's jobs in hotels, jobs in our shops and pilots that need accommodations and so forth," said Dr. Michael Reagen, President & CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce.
Scott Cameron of Cameron Real Estate Services in Naples has been a pilot for nearly 40 years. He says some pilots with certain insurance policies won't be allowed to fly into the Naples Airport once the tower closes. Therefore, those pilots could go elsewhere. He says traffic at Southwest Florida's smaller airports can be tricky.
"You're mixing high speed traffic with low speed traffic without anybody keeping an eye and separating them that's not a situation that any of us pilots like to be in," Scott Cameron, pilot.
The Naples Airport plans to sue the FAA to delay the tower's closure. The airport board in Spokane, Washington has done something similar.
"To be able to close 149 air traffic control towers in the U.S. in such a short amount of time, we don't believe they've gone through the process of safety management," said Ted Soliday, Executive Director of the Naples Airport Authority.