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Reader: Keep our airspace open

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The Greeley-Weld County Airport plays an important role in our community. Local doctors — including cardiologists and other specialists — fly from our airport to eastern Colorado, southern Nebraska and western Kansas to provide medical services to patients in rural communities who would otherwise be forced to drive hours to see a specialist.

Our airport is a lifeline for patients in rural areas who need critical medical treatment — Northern Colorado Medical Center serves a population base of about 450,000 within 35 miles — and is used for medflight transport.

We also serve agricultural aerial applicators, and companies like JBS Swift & Co., the largest employer in town, as well as Hensel Phelps Construction Co. and Norfolk Iron & Metal, rely on the airport.

All of these services fall under the umbrella of general aviation, which accounts for $2.4 billion in annual economic activity and supports more than 256,000 jobs across Colorado. The American aviation system is the most diverse system in the world, serving communities of all sizes, not just our largest cities.

That's why it defies reason to me why we would try to follow countries who privatize air traffic control in favor of a system that really only caters to the biggest airlines, airports and communities.

Under this type of system, oversight over our national air traffic control system would be dominated by private interests, which would be more interested in concentrating resources in areas where it benefits them. The ripple effect would be felt almost immediately, and would be devastating to businesses, and all the services that depend on our airport and our system as a whole.

As it stands now, our airspace operates for the sake of all Americas — we should keep it that way.

— Gary Cyr, Airport manager, Greeley-Weld County Airport

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