The control tower at the Hutchinson Municipal Airport will close.
The federal government plans to close air-traffic control towers at more than 180 airports across the country. That also includes Garden City and five other towers in Kansas. The closures will leave Kansas with just two airports staffed with air traffic controllers--Wichita's Mid-Continent and Salina.
"It's kind of like getting a punch in the gut," Hutchinson Airport manager Pieter Miller says.
Wells Aircraft manager Don Rogers says, "I think it stinks!"
Forced federal budget cutting due to sequestration is the official reason. But Miller says the shutdown appears to be permanent. That means the five controllers who work in the Hutchinson tower will lose their jobs, and along with them the airport expects to lose a lot of business.
Rogers says military planes and helicopters won't be allowed to land at Hutchinson any more to refuel--that is a big part of his business. He also says airplane makers may stop doing test flights there, and Hutchinson may no longer be a hub for pilot training.
Rogers says he's also concerned about pilots taking off and landing uncontrolled from all different directions on three runways.
The Hutchinson control tower has been manned for 60 years. It goes dark on April 7th.