Sequester Puts Local Airport's Military Operations At Risk - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Sequester Puts Local Airport's Military Operations At Risk

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WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. - In Wicomico County, local leaders call the sequester an "unnecessary scare tactic."

That is why they held a press conference Tuesday, to address what this means for the Salisbury airport and its tower operations.

"Our airport is here to stay, and public safety will not be compromised," said County Executive, Rick Pollitt.

Wicomico County officials are clearing the air. Rumors that the Salisbury Airport would close are now squashed. However, its air traffic control tower could shut down, if the sequester goes through. That means the airport would operate without it, much like it did prior to May of 1999.

"Through radio communications, that would be dialed in to the frequency assigned exclusively to this airport, it would be the responsibility of the pilot to announce their positions," said Airport Manager Robert Bryant.

WMDT asked airport officials if they will see an uproar from consumers, that would possibly driving them to BWI. They responded saying "we had several phone calls already. We want to encourage folks to continue using this airport because the airline is still going to be here," said Bryant.

Last year, the airport saw record numbers: over 150,000 airline passengers and more than 13,000 military operations, but that could change.

"The Marine Corps had a helicopter at this airport, doing night vision goggle work, which would not have been capable without the presence of the air traffic control tower," said Bryant.

Not to mention, their new partnership with Wallops, to bring Aerospace jobs to the local area. Those plans are now on hold until Washington decides their fate.

Right now, local officials are reaching out to elected officials to encourage them to act, but the clock is ticking. Congress has until Friday to come up with a plan.

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