Trenton-Mercer Airport’s traffic controllers hope to dodge fallout from shutdown

Another group sounds the alarm on the federal shutdown.

The control tower at the Trenton-Mercer Airport in New Jersey was threatened with closure earlier this year because of the federal sequester. If the federal shutdown extends beyond the end of the month, the contract and funding for its air traffic controllers will run out.

Ron Taylor, president of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization says, “If the control tower is closed, then the aircraft are on their own, meaning they have to see and be seen. They would land at their own risk. There would be nobody there to ensure their spacing and the safety factor would be compromised,” he says.

Most airport controllers are federal employees who are working without pay during the shutdown, but the private employees at Trenton-Mercer cannot be asked to work without pay, he says.

Mercer County says the airport already operates at night without a controller.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal