Friday, September 18, 2009

Hold the Phone: Sen. Menendez and I Agree

Something has to be done to improve air traffic control at Teterboro Airport. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, wants to see that happen with a new traffic tower. It is long overdue, and it would be the last major airport in the New York metro area to receive a new tower.
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez wants the Obama administration to pay for a new traffic tower at Teterboro Airport that would give controllers improved visibility and provide them with more modern equipment.

In a letter to President Obama on Wednesday, Menendez asked that money be included in the administration’s fiscal year 2011 budget request, citing two recent crashes involving Teterboro as inspiration for upgrading the small but busy airport.

Menendez did not offer specifics, but air traffic controllers say the Federal Aviation Administration should build a tower anywhere from 10 feet to 50 feet higher so they see over trees surrounding the airport.

The existing 34-year-old structure is about 100 feet tall, though controllers say the height of the tower was not a factor in an Aug. 8 air collision over the Hudson River that killed nine people.
The Port Authority operates Teterboro, which handles mostly general aviation and charter aircraft rather than the major airlines, but it is an integral part of the airspace. Newark Liberty and JFK airport have already received new towers and LaGuardia Airport is currently building a vastly improved tower.

More than just building a tower is involved. It involves including new technologies that make the airport operations safer. That's the real issue here, and while tower height was not a factor in a recent spate of crashes, providing new technologies that make those operations safer are needed in the heavily trafficked airspace which overlaps the aircraft arriving and departing from one of the busiest airports in the nation - Newark Liberty.

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