Castle Airport's tower closure delayed

05/10/2013 3:03 PM

05/10/2013 3:10 PM

Castle Airport’s air traffic control tower will remain open until the end of September, county officials announced Friday.

The Federal Aviation Administration decided Friday to continue funding the 149 FAA-contracted airport towers, including Castle Airport, until the end of the federal fiscal year.

“We could not be more pleased with the news today, and it represents a lot of hard work amongst many different stakeholders,” said Mark Hendrickson, director of commerce, aviation and economic development for Merced County.

Castle Airport’s control tower was slated to close June 15, as part of the FAA’s sequestration cuts. The agency needed to trim $637 million from its budget the rest of the fiscal year.

Hendrickson, who returned Friday from lobbying on the county’s behalf in Washington D.C., said the victory wouldn’t be possible without the support of Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno.

“Congressman Costa really stepped up to the plate to fight for the Castle Airport,” he said. “I can tell you firsthand that he and his staff were keenly aware of this issue and were fighting for it on a daily basis.”

-- Ramona Giwargis

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