Texarkana hopes to save airport tower operations

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) - Texarkana officials hope commercial traffic at the region's airport will help keep its control tower open.

The Federal Aviation Administration was set to pull funding effective April 7 in response to government cutbacks, but has since restored funding until May 5.

Now airport officials believe that commercial air service could help lead to a full restoration. According to the Texarkana Gazette, Airport Director Stephen Luebbert said at a public hearing Thursday that "control tower closure isn't an option."

Luebbert said there are some visual limitations at the airport that would require an air traffic controller to maintain safe operations.

"We consider safety as our reason to be and that tower is a key part of that so that will continue to operate," Luebbert said in an interview with our ABC station in Texarkana, KTBS. "We will find a way to do it."

The FAA has rejected the city's appeal to keep its funding. Luebbert said local funding could perhaps be used.

Texarkana's is 1 of 149 towers nationwide scheduled to close.