Budget cuts related to the federal sequester were instituted last week, after the Congress and House of Representatives failed to agree on a plan to slash federal spending. The Federal Aviation Administration told Concord city officials this week that as a result of those cuts, funding for the Concord tower will be discontinued in the near future. While an unmanned tower would not force the airport to close, the facility would be rendered unusable for most race team and NASCAR-related charter flights.
A large majority of race teams are located within just a few miles of Concord Regional Airport and utilize the facility as a transportation hub. In addition to individual race teams, the ConSeaAir charter service books weekly 737 flights out of Concord, filled with crew, media members and sanctioning body officials. Without a staffed control tower, most of that business would shift to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, resulting in inconvenience for teams and a loss of revenue for the city of Concord.
John Cox, president and CEO of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce, told the Charlotte Observer that the cuts are disappointing to local officials, who have “invested tens of millions to make Concord Regional Airport a premier aviation destination in North Carolina.
Cox called the move, “a fiasco,” adding that he is investigating other possible sources of funding.
Concord is one of four airports in North Carolina facing cuts, joining Hickory, Winston-Salem and Kinston.