The air traffic control tower at Florida’s Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM) recently completed its two millionth error-free operation since opening in 1997. To commemorate the occasion, the City of Kissimmee Commission will designate July 2 as “Kissimmee Air Traffic Tower Day,” airport officials said.
“The professionalism and outstanding customer service of our tower staff is one the key factors in Kissimmee Gateway Airport’s growth over the last decade,” says Terry Lloyd, director of aviation for the Airport. “You can hear them smiling over the radio waves when they welcome an arriving aircraft or wish a departing aircraft farewell. One comment on an aviation web site jokingly asked if Disney paid ATC staff a dollar every time they so cordially told pilots, Welcome to Kissimmee.”
Although not unprecedented, two million error-free operations is a significant accomplishment, airport officials said, because the airport’s environment is complex, as its airspace is shared with Orlando International Airport, requiring constant coordination with surrounding towers; a large variety of aircraft utilize the airport, including its businesses; more than 3,000 corporate jets land at the airport annually with high approach speeds; and many of the 130,000 operations performed annually at the airport are by students from one its three flight schools.
One recent example of ATC staff expertise and dedication occurred August 7, 2011, when they witnessed an explosion at Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) and were the first to inform authorities after seeing smoke and flames. ATC staff assisted medical evacuation aircraft that responded to the incident.
Located eight miles from Walt Disney World, Kissimmee Gateway Airport accommodates general aviation air service 24 hours a day with two paved runways, 5,000 and 6,000 feet each. The airport also offers full-service FBOs, flight training, aircraft storage, aircraft restoration, P-51 Mustang pilot training, T-6 Warbird adventure flights and an industrial park. Its air traffic control tower operates from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Built in 1942, Kissimmee Gateway Airport is owned and operated by the City of Kissimmee. For more information: KissimmeeAirport.com.