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Federal Cuts Could Shut Illinois Airport Control Towers

CHICAGO (AP) - Air traffic control towers could be shut down at nine Illinois airports if no deal is reached in Washington to avert federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect next month.      

Because of the across-the-board cuts, the Federal Aviation Administration is making plans to trim $600 million in spending for the rest of the fiscal year.  The agency is considering closing more than 100 air traffic control towers at smaller airports nationwide. Pilots using plane-to-plane radios would be left to coordinate landings and takeoffs among themselves.      

According to an FAA list, that could affect nine Illinois airports, including Springfield, Bloomington-Normal, Decatur, Carbondale and St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton, Ill.      

In addition, overnight shifts at air traffic control facilities could be scrapped at three airports, including Chicago's Midway.

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