For Immediate Release

Release No. AWP5-0303
May 19, 2003
Contact: Donn Walker
Phone: (310) 725-3580

TUSAYAN, Ariz. — The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday will formally dedicate and open a new airport traffic control tower at the Grand Canyon National Airport.

Bill Withycombe, Western-Pacific Regional Administrator for the FAA, will be joined by Gary Adams, Director of the Aeronautics Division of the Arizona Department of Transportation, and other national, state and local officials for the event and ribbon cutting, which begins at 10 a.m. on May 21, near the entrance to the tower.

The new structure was designed to enhance aviation safety and capacity in a variety of ways:

  • At 111 feet overall, the new tower is almost twice as tall as its predecessor, and it's more centrally located, providing controllers with a much better view of the airfield and surrounding area.
  • The cab – where the controllers work at the top – features state-of-the-art equipment, including new radios, digital voice recorders, voice-switching systems, transmitters and receivers, and wind-measuring equipment.
  • The cab itself sits 97 feet above ground and measures 525 square feet – more than three times the size of the previous work area.
  • Since frequent summer thunderstorms regularly knocked out power to the old facility, the new tower also has back-up power generators that allow it to operate independently of external power supplies.

The tower's base building is 5,000 square feet. Air traffic staff at the airport includes a manager and eight controllers, three of whom are on duty at any one time.

Controllers at Grand Canyon National Airport direct commercial and general aviation traffic, as well as Grand Canyon tour aircraft, in about 100,000 operations (take-offs and landings) per year.

Media are invited to attend Wednesday's event. Guests should enter through the first airport gate and continue past a stop sign, where they will be directed to parking.

WHAT: Formal opening and dedication of a new control tower at the Grand Canyon National Airport.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: At Grand Canyon National Airport, near the entrance to the tower.

WHO: Bill Withycombe, FAA Western-Pacific Regional Administrator. Gary Adams, Aeronautics Division Director, Arizona DOT Other national, state and local officials.