U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta today dedicated the new $20.5 million airport traffic control tower at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
Secretary LaHood said the new air traffic control tower will promote safety and economic growth in northeast Pennsylvania and that the FAA must continue to invest in and modernize the nation’s transportation infrastructure to ensure we stay competitive in today’s global economy.
The 118-foot-tall tower gives controllers better airfield views and contains state-of-the-art equipment to support and enable future NextGen technologies. It replaces a 52-foot-tall tower built in 1952.
A 12,683-square-foot base building houses a new Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) that provides radar service to flights within a 57-mile radius of the airport up to an altitude of 10,000 feet. The base building also accommodates electronic equipment, administrative offices and building support systems. (FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta shown at right.)
Huerta said the tower is a symbol of the FAA’s commitment to aviation safety and to modernizing the air traffic control system. “Upgrading our aviation infrastructure to support NextGen will help to maintain the world’s largest and safest aviation system.”
The new facility has the latest radar and communications technology, as well as a high-tech climate control system and was constructed with energy-efficient materials to reduce heating and ventilation costs.
The $20.5 million air traffic control tower was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Construction began in December 2009, and air traffic controllers began handling flights from the new tower on Aug. 29, 2012.
NextGen is the transformation of the radar-based air traffic control system of today to a satellite-based system of the future. New procedures and technologies will significantly improve safety, capacity and efficiency, and will reduce fuel burn, carbon emissions and environmental impacts.