FLYING Magazine

The FAA recently announced how it plans to begin investing the first $1 billion of the $5 billion the agency has been given to improve the country’s air traffic system as part of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

Here’s a look at what the plan includes.

Electrical Power Systems Sustainment & Replacement

A total of $295 million will replace underground cables, transformers, switches at airports, engine generators, and fuel storage tanks that are part of primary and backup power systems for air traffic systems.

Enroute Flight Centers Building Improvements

In all, $233.6 million will update the country’s 22 air route traffic control centers (ARTCCs), which provide air traffic services to aircraft flying on IFR flight plans as well as at higher altitudes. The agency says these systems need updated heating and ventilation, new plumbing, and repairs to their exterior and interior.

Reinforcing Navigation, Weather & Tracking Equipment

Nearly $200 million will complete backlog sustainment projects for the host of communications, surveillance, weather, and navigation systems that the FAA uses to guide aircraft safely to continue to work reliably.

Improve Towers and Approach & Departure Facilities

A total of $81.5 million will update the more than 50 percent of aging towers and approach control (TRACON) facilities that are more than 40 years old. Funding will specifically go to new elevators, plumbing systems, and supporting infrastructure.

Long-Range Radar Sustainment

Nearly $79 million will renovate or replace infrastructure at long-range radar sites, critical to tracking flights between airports.

Hazardous Materials Management, Environmental Standards Compliance

Almost $59 million will remove and restore areas with outdated facilities or infrastructure no longer used. This will also incorporate environmental safety improvements as updates and replacements to the air traffic infrastructure.

Personnel and Travel

A total of $24 million will recruit and hire installation technicians and engineers to improve and modernize these facilities.

Facility Security Risk Management

More than $18 million will go to the facility security risk management program that provides an integrated security system at all FAA staffed facilities. Upgrades include those guardhouses, visitor parking, fencing, perimeter hardening, window blast protection, and lighting.

Terminal ATC Facilities

In all, $10 million will fund the design, site evaluation, and preparation for the first control towers to be replaced over the coming years. The towers selected will be located at non-major airports. These towers provide air traffic services to aircraft near the airport, at the airport, or shortly after departing the airport.

“There’s a great deal of work needed to reduce the backlog of sustainment work, upgrades, and replacement of buildings and equipment needed to operate our nation’s airspace safely,”  FAA Deputy Administrator A. Bradley Mims said.

Mims also said the agency would particularly look to work with small and disadvantaged business owners and women and minorities to carry out the needed work.

On May 16, the FAA will host a small business webinar to provide insight into current plans for the rollout of the funding and educate vendor participants on potential areas of opportunity and resources for small businesses. Those interested in attending can register here.

The post How the FAA Will Spend $1 Billion to Improve ATC Over the Next Year appeared first on FLYING Magazine.

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