Barkley Airport: Confusion Over Closure
PADUCAH, Ky. - A bite to eat, some television, a quick check of those never-ending work emails. There is only so much you can do when you are waiting at the airport. Katherine Orquiola who travels 2-3 times a week picks Paducah because there is not a lot of waiting.
"It's like an hour and a half or less, it's very convenient," she said of using Barkely Regional Airport when traveling for business.
The FAA announced last month plans to close Barkley's control tower and 148 others in an effort to save an estimated $30-40 million.
Since the announcement, airport director Richard Roof says ridership has not exactly been outstanding.
"We're looking at very small increases in February and March after really good increases prior to that," he said, noting just a two percent increase in March, compared to a 20 percent increase in January, compared to that time last year.
Roof says passengers are just confused, "We tell people that call and say, 'Gee, I have a ticket bought for July. Is the airport closing?' No we're not. We're still gonna be here."
But if the control tower does close in June and traffic control operations move to Memphis there could be delays.
Katherine Orquiola says although she likes the airport she doesn't like waiting, "If I was getting delayed all the time, I'd probably resort to another airport, there are other airports."
Roof is hoping that does not happen. He is confident congressional action will take place before the June 15th closure date. Next week, in fact, senators from Kansas and Connecticut plan to introduce legislation that would prohibit the FAA from closing any towers.
Also, a lawsuit against the FAA has been filed by the U.S. Control Tower Associations- and Barkley is a part of that group.