The Texas Transportation Commission unanimously approved a grant to extend air traffic control services at a number of Texas airports.
The grant will fund 13 Texas towers that are scheduled to lose funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for 90 more days.
The Transportation Commission agrees that shutting down the towers presents too much of a flight risk, as pilots taking off or landing at these airports would have to operate on the traditional 'see and avoid' method.
"Once they get about ten to 15 miles from the airport they would know the frequency of the tower operator, and they'll call him up and say 'I'm out here and I'd like to land,' and he'd do his best to assist them," said David Fulton, TxDot Aviation Director. "but, he would not be able to provide a separation for them from other air crafts."
The 13 Texas airports are just a few of the 149 airport towers the Federal Aviation Administration has decided to stop funding nationwide, in order to comply with federal dollars lost under Sequestration.
"It does increase the risk not to have someone in the tower telling the airplanes what heading to fly, what direction to fly, what altitude to fly, and guaranteeing the separation of air craft," said Fulton."
The Transportation Commission has also agreed to hear from aviation professionals and lawmakers during the 90 days, for recommendations on what their next step should be to keep these towers operating after the extension expires.