North Perry Airport to appeal cuts

FAA proposes ending contract with air traffic control tower at North Perry General Aviation Airport

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. - North Perry General Aviation Airport officials will appeal the Federal Aviation Administration, which plans to shut down the flight tower there because of automatic spending cuts that went into effect March 1.

"This is dangerous," said Ami Hendel of Hollywood Flight Training.

Hendel is worried about the FAA's proposal to cut its contract with the tower.

"We're going to start having minor collisions every day, and when two airplanes meet in the air, they have to fall down somewhere," he said. "We have a hospital, we have a school, we have all of the business here."

"That tower gives you a heads up whether they're behind you, whether they're in front of you, if they're coming in your same direction, or if they're going underneath you or over you," said flight student James Washington.

"We're actually a little different from the FAA," said air traffic controller Tony Saavedra. "We're not going to get furloughed. We're actually going to all lose our jobs."

"Closing these airports will have major impact on the economy here as well as the skies above South Florida," said Mitch Herrick, a member of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

Herrick, an air traffic controller at MIA, said the closures at North Perry and Opa-locka Executive Airport will impact tower operators at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Miami International Airports.

"Adding these aircraft without instruction, without the ability to regulate them in and out of the national airspace system, could erode the margin of safety for certain," he added.

North Perry Airport officials plan to appeal to the FAA Wednesday. They expect to hear back on Monday.

The FAA issued a statement saying no final decision has been made.

Meantime, a town neighboring Opa-locka Executive Airport passed a resolution asking the federal government to consider keeping flight towers open there.

PHOTOS: Christina Vazquez visits North Perry General Aviation Airport

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