Five small Kansas airports are among those that will have their towers shut down by the Federal Aviation Administration because of federal budget cuts.

Airport towers slated to stop operations in Kansas include Hutchinson Municipal Airport, New Century in Olathe, Manhattan Regional Airport, Johnson County Executive Airport in Olathe and Philip Billard Municipal Airport in Topeka.

The closures will not force the shutdown of any of those airports, but pilots will be left to coordinate takeoffs and landings among themselves over a shared radio frequency with no help from ground controllers. All pilots are trained to fly using those procedures.

The plan has raised concerns over the impact on safety and the potential financial effect on communities that rely on airports as economic engines for attracting business.

The FAA is being forced to trim $637 million for the rest of the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. The agency said it had no choice but to subject most of its 47,000 employees, including tower controllers, to periodic furloughs and to close air traffic facilities at small airports with lighter traffic. The changes are part of across-the-board federal spending cuts that went into effect March 1.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Manhattan Regional Airport offers daily commercial flights to Dallas and Chicago. But officials there said American Eagle service would go on as scheduled using regional air traffic control from the Kansas City area.

Eric Johnson, president of the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority, said his main concern with closing the Billard tower is runway safety, particularly considering the mix of flights that go through the airport on a daily basis. Flights range from one-man crop dusters to business jets with 10 people, he said. The airport also houses the state's hangar, which is used by the governor's office and the Kansas Highway Patrol.

"Without the tower, you're mixing novice pilots with business aircraft and experienced pilots," he said.