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Two local airport control towers may close

The Oxnard and Camarillo airport towers are on a list of towers nationwide that could close if federal budget cuts go through this week.

The Federal Aviation Administration has sent a letter to all tower operators who could be ordered to change operations quickly if officials in Washington don’t come up with new funding. The two Ventura County airports are on the list. No airport towers in Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo Counties have been named.

Nationwide, the cuts in services would likely impact flights and passenger travel plans.

“Travelers should expect delays,” LaHood told reporters in calling for fellow Republicans to work toward compromise to avert the worst impacts of $85 billion in across-the-board cuts set to take effect March 1.

The full impact won’t be felt until April as furloughs and other staffing reductions of air traffic controllers come into effect, said LaHood, who has announced his intention to step down from President Barack Obama’s Cabinet.

LaHood said plans under consideration to absorb the mandatory spending cuts included furloughs for most FAA workers, eliminating midnight shifts in 60 control towers and shutting down more than 100 towers at smaller airports.

The FAA operates towers at more than 400 airports nationwide.

The Homeland Security Department has separately warned of longer security lines at airports if budget cuts take effect, another potential headache for air travelers.

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