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Barnes Munic. Tower to Remain Open Amid Sequestration Cuts

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WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The final list of air traffic control towers that may close has been released, and one in western Mass. is the only one in the Commonwealth to avoid the chopping block.

The FAA announced Thursday their list of 149 “federal contract towers” that will begin to close during a four-week phased process beginning on April 7, as part of the agency’s sequestration implementation plan.

The tower at Barnes Municipal Airport, which was on an initial list of 189 towers up for possible closure, will remain open.

As part of the sequestration, the FAA was forced to meet $637 million in cuts and said it would consider “keeping open any of these towers if doing so would be in the national interest.”

Those interests, according the FAA, include, “(1) significant threats to national security as determined by the FAA in consultation with the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security; (2) significant, adverse economic impact that is beyond the impact on a local community; (3) significant impact on multi-state transportation, communication or banking/financial networks; and (4) the extent to which an airport currently served by a contract tower is a critical diversionary airport to a large hub.”

Five other towers in Massachusetts will shut down, including facilities in Norwood, Worcester, Lawrence, Beverly, and New Bedford.

ABC40 will have much more on this story, on-air and online, as it becomes available.