FAA Inaugurates New Houston Air-Traffic Facility

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) dedicated a new Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility that will be better able to handle the expected growth in flight operations in the Houston area.

The Houston TRACON is responsible for controlling air traffic over roughly 16,000 square miles of airspace stretching from the Texas-Louisiana border to approximately 35 miles east of Austin and from Galveston to 30 miles north of College Station. The City of Houston is leasing the 47,500 square-foot facility to the FAA at no cost. The new TRACON is located on 21 acres of land at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) facility and replaces an outdated structure that was commissioned more than 40 years ago.

“The Houston Airport System and the Federal Aviation Administration already enjoy a strong partnership with one another and millions of air passengers in the Houston region have undoubtedly benefited as a result,” says Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz. “But with the opening of this new facility, that partnership will grow even stronger in the future and even greater operational efficiency will be realized at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.”

Approximately 218 air-traffic controllers, managers and technical support personnel are assigned to the new TRACON. It has space for up to 27 radar positions, compared with the 20 radar positions in the previous facility. The FAA began using the new TRACON in September 2013.

“This new air traffic control facility was designed to take advantage of the new satellite-based air traffic control capabilities that are currently being deployed as part of the FAA’s NextGen air traffic modernization program,” said Deputy FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker. “It is yet another example of where Houston is helping to pave the way for the future in air transportation.”

In Fiscal Year 2013, controllers at the Houston TRACON handled more than 940,000 individual aircraft operations.

The total cost of the project was about $43 million, including construction and new electronic equipment.

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