Tyler Pounds Regional and East Texas Regional in Longview were among the airports included on a Federal Aviation Administration list.
The FAA said it is considering furloughing most of its 47,000 employees for one day every two weeks — in effect, a 10 percent reduction in staffing — and closing more than 100 air traffic control centers, including 19 in Texas.
Overnight shifts could be eliminated at more than 60 additional airports, including six in Texas.
Tyler Pounds Regional Airport Manager Davis Dickson said Friday that if closures do take place, Tyler’s air traffic control would be less likely to go because it provides for commercial air service in addition to private aviation.
“I think the main thing I’d like to stress is there is a list out there,” he said. “These could be (the) airports. It doesn’t say these are the airports.”
However, if the FAA decided to reduce or suspend air traffic control operations at Tyler Pounds, the airport has procedures in place so it could continue to operate, Dickson said.
These procedures include using Fort Worth or Shreveport, La., for approach control services and shifting to UNICOM, a system that allows air traffic on the ground to communicate with air traffic in the air.
Air traffic already uses UNICOM when the control tower is closed, which is between 9:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. However, he said, air traffic control is much more efficient.
Dickson said if the FAA chooses to take action, he would expect them to reduce or suspend services rather than close them all together.
If a decision is made, an official notice likely would be sent and the airport would have an opportunity to respond to that, he said.
At that point, he likely would work with community leaders to draft a response.
All air traffic control employees at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport are employed by RVA, a contractor for the FAA, Dickson said.
Dickson, who has been the airport manager for almost 19 years, said he has never seen a suspension of air traffic control service and doesn’t expect to see it this time.
The FAA said that the reductions are part of its plan to cope with a spending reduction of $600 million during the rest of the fiscal year, which runs through Sept. 30.
The largest airports, such as Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport and Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport, are not on FAA’s list of potential closures or cutbacks.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA chief Michael Huerta said Friday in a letter to aviation industry trade groups that the agency “may reduce the efficiency of the national airspace in order to maintain the highest safety standards.”
Flights to major cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco could have delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours because there will be fewer controllers on staff, they said.
Airlines are likely to cancel some flights if they expect problems, similar to the way that they reduce flights during bad weather to avoid overloading a weakened air-travel system.
Automatic federal spending cuts are scheduled to take effect Friday if Congress and President Barack Obama can’t agree on future government spending, although the deadline could be pushed back, as it was at the end of 2012.
Government rules require giving workers a 30-day notice of furloughs, which can’t start until March 1, so the slowdowns would be expected to hit in April.
On Thursday, airline industry officials tried to sound optimistic that political leaders will reach a deal.
“We fully expect and urge the Congress and the president to ensure that the air transportation system is not negatively impacted” by automatic spending cuts, said Dan Elwell, senior vice president for safety and operations at Airlines for America, a trade group representing the biggest U.S. airlines.