Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg Regional Airport has until next Wednesday to appeal the FAA decision to close the tower located at the airport.
The cut is part of the forced spending cuts known as sequestration. It's all happening as airport officials are attempting to get a second airline in Lynchburg.
It's not an immediate deal-breaking concern because there is a plan in place to keep flights moving in and out of Lynchburg. But Airport Director Mark Courtney is concerned about the long-term impact.
You could call it excess baggage - just one more problem for small airports, including Lynchburg Regional.
"There are so many things that can impact the ability to get another, a second airline," said Courtney.
The federal government shutting down our tower certainly wouldn't help, according to Courtney.
"Airports like ours will lose our ability to be able to attract more airline service," said Courtney. "The airlines will very likely be in a position that they have to start reducing or not consider adding more flights because the system will be too strained too stretched."
"I spent the last three days with Mark Courtney and we interviewed seven different national airlines," said Hammond.
Chamber of Commerce President Rex Hammond says when a new airline starts flying in, business usually lands here next. And we need both.
"The major airlines don't need any more incentive to exclude small airports and if this helps contribute to a mindset that they can't do the things they need to do at a small airport, then airports like Lynchburg Regional are at a competitive disadvantage," said Hammond.
"It's going to have tremendous impact on our ability to be able to grow and support our local economic development," said Courtney.
For now, Lynchburg Regional's tower is in a holding pattern - waiting on the outcome of an appeal.
Courtney wants to make it clear that the airport itself is not closing. Flights in and out of Lynchburg will be controlled out of the Roanoke approach control radar tower. It's staffed 24/7 and uses radar on Candlers Mountain.