Safety Concerns over Possible Olive Branch Airport Tower Closure

Safety Concerns over Possible Olive Branch Airport Tower Closure

The Metro Olive Branch airport is one of 149 towers set to close in June. The FAA blames the cuts on sequestration.
OLIVE BRANCH, MS (abc24.com) - It's the busiest airport in Mississippi and it's about to lose its tower.

The Metro Olive Branch airport is one of 149 towers set to close in June. The FAA blames the cuts on sequestration.

Olive Branch's airport handles about 200 flights a day. Without the tower, pilots will have to depend on radio communication and keep a sharp eye out for other planes.

Workers equate it to driving blind or without stop lights. They're worried about safety and so are passengers.

"From a safety standpoint you'd certainly want a tower," says flyer Larry Parker.

"With the flight school, there is a lot of the traffic there," says Mayor Sam Rikard. "We have students taking off and landing. We believe that is another reason, because of the high concentration of flight school activity, that should convince the FAA the tower needs to stay open."

The tower is just over ten years old.

It's owned by the city. Mayor Rikard says the city will take care of the upkeep on it, preparing for when the money is there to reopen it.
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