(BLOOMBERG) The U.S. will close 149 air-traffic control towers run by contractors at small- and mid-sized airports beginning on April 7 as a result of automatic budget cuts at government agencies.

The Federal Aviation Administration spared 24 towers on its original list of 173 subject to closing, it said in an e-mail today. All towers being shut down are run by private companies, not the government as at larger facilities. Another 16 private towers will face 5 percent cuts.

“Unfortunately we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in an e-mailed statement.

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