U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says control towers at five small airports in his home state of Illinois, including the Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro, are among the 149 nationwide that the Federal Aviation Administration is keeping open for now.
The towers are all operated for the FAA at low-traffic airports and were to close by mid-June as the result of government-wide automatic spending cuts imposed by Congress. They'll now remain open at least through September, the end of the federal budget year.
Durbin says the Illinois airports include the St. Louis Regional Airport in Bethalto, Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal, Decatur Airport and Waukegan Regional Airport.
While the small airports get a temporary reprieve, FAA officials will still be under pressure to find ways to cut spending in next year's budget.