Beverly Airport is owned by the city of Beverly but the control tower is owned by the FAA. The government contracts out to a private company, Midwest Air Traffic, to provide the air traffic controllers. The tower is open in the winter from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The FAA said the towers are closing as part of its plan to meet $637 million in cuts required under budget sequestration.
“We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a press release. “Unfortunately we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration.”
Mezzetti said he does not know how much money the FAA will save by closing the Beverly Airport tower.
The FAA said it will work with local airports and pilots “to ensure the procedures are in place to maintain the high level of safety at non-towered airports.”
The closing of the five Massachusetts airports came despite a plea by the state’s congressional delegation, including Congressman John Tierney of Salem, to keep them open.
In a letter to the FAA, the delegation said the closings “will jeopardize the safety of the flying public as well as that of residents within a certain proximity to these airports, have a negative impact on regional economics and threaten our military readiness.”
Beverly Airport handled 59,000 takeoffs and landings last year by a range of aircraft, from single-engine planes to larger corporate jets.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.