Arlington Municipal Airport addes control tower

Pilots flying in and out of Arlington Municipal Airport (GKY) in Texas will have someone to talk to starting in August, when the airport’s new control tower goes into operation.

The tower, which is 119 feet high, is centrally located on the west side of the airport. The 500-acre airport has been an uncontrolled field until now, according to Bob Porter, airport manager, who adds that acquisition of a tower was not a surprise to the pilots.

“Getting a control tower has been part of our master plan for years,” he said. In previous years the focus of the master plan was on upgrading the airport’s infrastructure, which had decayed since the facility was built in the early 1960s.

“For example, we changed from asphalt to concrete and did the flat work that was so desperately needed,” he said. “We also extended the runway to 6,080 feet. After we took care of the infrastructure we looked at getting a tower and we were fortunate in our timing as we were able to get in on the contract tower program.”

Price tag on the tower is $1.8 million, with $1.5 million of it coming from the FAA.

“The city financed the remaining share of the tower costs. The FAA did the final inspection around July 4th and the tower manager just started work yesterday,” said Porter on July 10. “I expect we will have a ribbon cutting ceremony when we get the controllers in there and the tower is in operation.”

The contract tower will operate on a part-time basis starting in mid August.

According to Porter, operations at the airport range from 130,000 to 140,000 annually.

“Of course that’s a guesstimate, but now that we have the tower we will know for sure,” he noted.

There are approximately 300 aircraft based at the airport, which acts as a reliever for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“We have DC-9s that run freight in and out of here to corporate jets and five flight schools,” said Porter. “We have lots of different types of aircraft with different speeds.”

The control tower is not the only improvement coming to the airport. By 2007 it will have an Instrument Landing System installed.

“That will cost $2.5 million and the FAA will pick up the tab since it is a budget item,” Porter explained. “The ILS is in the design phase now.”

Porter anticipates an increase in airport traffic as the area continues to grow in preparation for the completion of a new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys football team, which is slated for 2009.

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