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Why Greater Binghamton Airport officials aren’t worried about eventual loss of personnel

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TOWN OF MAINE (WBNG) -- The Greater Binghamton Airport is set to lose some air traffic controllers, but officials say it shouldn't have a major impact.

The FAA wrote in its Realignment and Consolidation Report that it is looking to consolidate multiple airport air traffic controllers across the country, and the Greater Binghamton Airport is on the list.

The FAA is analyzing its Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities for realignment, meaning air traffic controllers from that department will be moved from Binghamton to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport. This does not include the airport's local control, otherwise known as the tower, which is responsible for movements on runways, taxiways, and more.

The FAA wrote in the report that it projects to save more than a million dollars in this consolidation effort.

Commissioner of Aviation at the Greater Binghamton Airport, Mark Heefner, says this change will not affect the everyday flights or safety.

"Basically the purpose is to save money," said Heefner. "They won't see any difference in safety. They won't see any difference in security."

This change comes a few years after the airport felt its biggest blow with two major airlines leaving in 2016.

Heefner says it was a low point for his office, but says numbers have recently been improving when it comes to the amount of passengers per year.

"We kind of hit rock bottom at that point in time," said Heefner.

He went on to say the airport does a lot more to add to the community, including transporting package deliveries that eventually arrive on your doorstep and providing a space for our local law enforcement to train.

Heefner says he is currently working with Broome County and the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce to continue moving forward and investing into the local airport.

Heefner could not release information of how many employees will be lost, but says he and state officials put up a fight against the FAA's realignment plan. He says the change with the air traffic controllers won't take place until a couple more years.

Anne Sparaco

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