MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The mayor of Miami Lakes has called an emergency meeting of the Town Council for Friday to discuss what they can do about the closure of the tower at the Opa-locka airport.
In order to cut $600 million from its budget because of the federal sequester, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it planned to close the towers at Opa-locka and North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines. The FAA plans to close 100 air traffic control towers nationwide as of April 1st.
Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi said the closure of the tower would create a public safety issue for the residents of the city and all residents in the flight path and surrounding areas.
Combined Opa-locka North Perry airports accommodate upwards of a quarter of a million take-offs and landings a year.
Pizzi said it is unacceptable to have the federal government shut down a flight tower that is there to make sure that planes safely land at the airport and avoid the residential areas that are so close to this airport.
In addition to providing safety, Pizzi said the flight tower is key to the city’s noise abatement program because controllers direct planes to avoid flight paths that place them directly over densely populated residential areas.
Miami-Dade Fire/Rescue and the U.S. Coast Guard fly life-saving missions out of facilities at Opa-locka. It is help that could be delayed by lack of air traffic control, according to one Coast Guard source who asked not to be named.