Columbus airport to see major changes - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus airport to see major changes

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

It was two years ago when the first American Airlines flight took off from the Columbus airport… but in June, those flights will be no more.

"They've got aircraft in here they are going to be getting rid of and it's a situation where while the loads were decent we are not what is considered a high yield market for them," said Mark Oropeza, Airport Director.  

It was just one of the hot topics that came up in our conversation with Oropeza, who says that they are still talking with American Airlines with hopes of inking a new deal when they complete a merger with U.S. Airways.

Starting this summer, the airport will have only the Delta Airline connection flights to and from Atlanta. While losing American Airlines could pose problems for the airport, losing the air traffic control tower could be an even bigger worry.

The Federal Aviation Administration or FAA released a list of small service towers that could potentially close. Columbus was on that list but Oropeza told News Leader 9 that it is too early to call it quits. 

"We are not a contact tower, we are a FAA staff tower, we are federal employees here. The FAA has to give the union notice at least 12 months in advance before they can close the tower down," Oropeza said.  

The tower at the Columbus airport is already run on partial time. Planes are often guided to land through radar out of Atlanta. Despite these recent setbacks, Oropeza remains optimistic. 

"At some point and time congress could get together and all the parties could agree and adopt a new budget then there is money for the FAA then it's all a moot point," he said. 

American Airlines is expected to make its last flights out of the Columbus by June 11. Some air traffic control towers across the nation are expected to be shut down starting the first of April.

As of right now the Columbus airport is not one of those but remains on a list for consideration.

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