England Authority will work to reverse decision to close 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron at England Airpark

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Air Force Announces Closure Of 259Th Air Traffic Control Squadron At England Airpark

Loss Of 110 Jobs Surprises Congressional Delegation And Louisiana National Guard

England Airpark:  April 9, 2012

In a March surprise announcement, the United States Air Force proposed the disbanding of the Louisiana National Guard 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron located at England Airpark.  The Air Force announced that the 110 positions presently authorized for Louisiana’s 259th ATC will be taken to form Unmanned Aerial Vehicle units in other states. 

The announcement by the United States Air Force came without consultation with Senators Landrieu, Vitter or Congressman Alexander.  Further, the announcement came without the input of the Louisiana National Guard.

The 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron is based at England Airpark.  The 259th controls the movement of all aircraft in the airspace surrounding Alexandria International Airport (AEX).  The unit mans the air traffic control tower at AEX while also providing radar, navigation aide and communication support.  The 259th is a member of the Louisiana National Guard.  There are 110 persons in this unit.  The 259th has a direct economic impact of over $3 million annually to the local economy.  The 259th has made numerous deployments overseas along with performing disaster relief duty in the United States.

The England Authority opposes this closure and will be working with the Louisiana National Guard, Senators Landrieu, Senator Vitter, Congressman Alexander, and other stakeholders to reverse this decision.  We urge the citizens of Central Louisiana to contact the Congressional Delegation and urge their support of the 259 ATC Squadron. 

As to the announcement:

William Barron, Chairman, England Authority:  “The 259th has been a critical part of the success of Alexandria International Airport and our support of Ft. Polk.  The England Authority will be working with all of Central Louisiana to reverse this decision.”

Jon Grafton, Executive Director, England Authority:  “I would like to thank General Curtis, Senator Landrieu, Senator Vitter and Congressman Alexander for immediately moving to stop this action.  Congressional action will be critical to our success.”

Scott Gammel, Airport Manager, Alexandria International Airport:  “On a daily basis the 259th ATC supports the safe operation of civilian and military aircraft at AEX.  AEX will be working with the aviation community to support our congressional delegation to reverse this decision.

Further information will be forthcoming regarding Central Louisiana’s efforts to save the 259th  Air Traffic Control Squadron.  We ask the Central Louisiana media to widely distribute this information so that our citizens have a chance to support this effort.  We ask Central Louisiana citizens to contact Senators Landrieu and Vitter; Congressman Alexander to let them know the importance of retaining this unit.

The England Authority is a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana which owns and manages England Airpark, the former England Air Force Base.  England Airpark includes Alexandria International Airport and multiple conversion projects, for which it has been nationally recognized as the premier model for reuse and development of closed military bases.

For more information contact:

Jon Grafton, Executive Director
England Airpark
318-792-6063
jgrafton@englandairpark.org

LTC Micheal Kazmierzak
Louisiana National Guard
504-278-8286

Senator Mary Landrieu
202-224-5824

Senator David Vitter
202-224-4623

Jamie Hanks
Congressman Rodney Alexander
202-225-8490