TUCSON, Ariz. — FAA Administrator Michael Huerta recently joined federal and local officials in dedicating the new air traffic control tower at Tucson International Airport (KTUS).
The new tower is 252 feet tall, about double the height of the old tower, which served the airport for 58 years. It provides air traffic controllers with better airfield views and makes it easier for them to determine the positions of aircraft on the ground and in the skies around the airport, according to FAA officials.
The project came in under budget and ahead of schedule, officials add.
The new tower sits atop a 13,000-square-foot base building that houses computer equipment, administrative offices, and a backup power system that is designed to automatically activate in case of a commercial power outage.
A 1,600-panel solar farm adjacent to the base building is expected to generate enough power to support all of the facility’s electrical needs for several hours a day on sunny days. At other times, the power it produces will supplement the facility’s commercial power supply.
The facility also uses the solar farm to produce ice, which is stored in large containers and is used at night to cool the building when the solar panels are not producing electricity.
The total project cost, including computer equipment, electronics, fire suppression systems, and heating and air conditioning, was about $40 million.
Tucson had approximately 143,000 aircraft operations in 2015.