Gwinnett County sues to keep Briscoe tower open - CBS46 News

Gwinnett County sues to keep Briscoe tower open

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Gwinnett County has joined a national lawsuit filed against the Federal Aviation Administration to keep the air traffic control tower at Briscoe Field open.

The FAA is slated to close nearly 150 towers to save money. 

The county said the tower helps draw companies to use the Lawrenceville airport and pumps millions into the local economy.  It is also concerned that safety will be in jeopardy if the tower closes.

"I think it would help to keep corporate aviation in there," said Jim Regan of Citizens for Better Gwinnett. He said he supports the lawsuit. "Everybody wants to think that they're safe when they're flying."

However, not everyone agrees the tower is essential to Briscoe's operations.

"The companies I flew for over the years don't care whether there's a tower or not," said former corporate pilot Paul Branson.  "As long as I could get them into the place, that's all they wanted."

Other pilots who use Briscoe Field said they are trained to land at airports without control towers.

"The tower is important for most business traffic coming in, but for most general aviation, my personal opinion is that the tower is not necessary," said pilot Jim Weed.

Gwinnett County has signed on to a lawsuit filed by the airport in Spokane, WA.  Airports in Illinois and Florida are also taking legal action to get the FAA to restore funding for airport towers.

The county is also researching how Congress' recent decision to restore funding for air traffic controllers will affect the future of Briscoe's tower.

The FAA planned to close the tower May 5 but has postponed any action until mid-June.

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