On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced they will no longer provide funding for 149 contract air traffic control towers beginning April 7, 2013. The tower at the Manhattan Regional Airport (MHK) is on the list to no longer receive funding. Other Kansas Air Traffic Control facilities on the list include: Philip Billard Municipal in Topeka; Hutchinson Municipal in Hutchinson; New Century Air Center in Olathe; and Johnson County Executive in Olathe. The FAA made the decision to pull funding in an attempt to deal with sequestration budget cuts.
Airport Director Peter VanKuren responded to the announcement stating, “While we are extremely frustrated to lose funding disproportionately from FAA, this announcement does not mean that operations at the Manhattan Regional Airport will necessarily change significantly.” Commercial air service to Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago’s O’Hare airports will continue without interruption.
The City of Manhattan owns the air traffic control tower and the City Commission will have several options to consider regarding future air traffic control services. These options will be evaluated prior to the FAA’s April 7, 2013 deadline.