|CHICAGO (AP) -- Five small airports in Illinois are among dozens nationwide that will lose their air traffic control towers under budget cuts that have hit the Federal Aviation Administration.
The agency announced Friday that it will begin closing 149 air traffic facilities starting April 7.
The affected Illinois towers are at St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton, Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal, Decatur Airport, Southern Illinois Airport in Carbondale and Waukegan Regional Airport near Chicago.
All of the affected airports will remain open. Under long-established procedures, pilots will be left to coordinate takeoffs and landings among themselves over a shared radio frequency without help from controllers.
The FAA is being forced to trim $637 million for the rest of the fiscal year under the federal cuts known as sequestration.