Officials at the Dubuque airport are preparing for some changes as the Federal Aviation Administration plans to close the airport’s control tower as part of the automatic federal budget cuts. Dubuque airport operations supervisor, Todd Dalsing, says the airport is working with tenants such as American Eagle, corporations, private pilots, and the University of Dubuque’s flight operations and aviation management programs.
The control tower usually coordinates take-offs and landings, but now that will be left up to the pilots. But it’s also a tool that the local flight school and the people learning to fly around our are use to work on their training. Part of their training is talking to an air traffic control tower,” Dalsing says.
“Without a tower in the Dubuque area, the closest tower would be Moline, Cedar Rapids, Madison. That’s a good hour flight just to talk to somebody to get that requirement, to get that familiarization.” The grounds crew and others will also have to tell pilots where they’re working on the airfield, and he says maintenance and repair schedules may change.
For example, runways and taxi-ways must be painted periodically, and cracks have to be sealed. Dalsing says they are able to issue a notice to pilots to let them know about any work that’s going on. Passengers won’t be directly affected by the tower closure.
But Dalsing says four air traffic controllers will lose their positions in Dubuque. They work for a company called Midwest Air Traffic Control, based in Kansas. The last day for the tower to be open will be April 21st.