For Immediate Release

July 27, 1998
Contact: Arlene Salac, Jim Peters
Phone: (718) 553-3015


The “can-do” attitude of the staff of the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic control facility at Philadelphia International Airport has led to the facility’s selection as the FAA’s top Level 5 facility in the U.S. for 1997.

In addition to the national honor, the Philadelphia air traffic control facility has been named the top Level 5 facility in FAA’s Eastern Region for 1997. The facility also won the regional award in 1996.

“It’s a terrific honor for the men and women who provide air traffic control services in one of the busiest and most complex corridors in the country, if not the world,” says Rick Ducharme, manager, Air Traffic Services, Philadelphia Air Traffic Control Tower.

Both awards will be presented to the air traffic control staff on Tuesday, July 28, in a ceremony at 1 p.m. at the Air Traffic Control Tower at Philadelphia International Airport.

The Philadelphia air traffic control facility has two components – Philadelphia Tower and Philadelphia Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON).

In 1997, the TRACON, which provides air traffic approach control services for airspace covering more than 3,600 square miles in four states, handled 628,209 aircraft operations. Philadelphia Tower, which provides services for a mix of aircraft in and out of Philadelphia International Airport, handled 466,692 operations last year.

“The level of activity at Philadelphia Tower reflects what is taking place at the airport, the country’s 15th busiest facility,” says Ducharme. “Operations have been increasing in the last several years, and we expect operations to continue to grow. But the significant steps that FAA has taken will accommodate the growth and at the same time, enhance safety for passengers who use Philadelphia Airport.”

The efforts that Philadelphia Tower has put into place to improve operational efficiency are among the reasons why it was selected as the top Level 5 facility in the country.

For example, FAA personnel in Philadelphia Tower established procedures to allow arriving aircraft to land on parallel runways 27 left and 27 right. The Tower has also instituted new procedures to allow two final controllers, two local controllers and two ground controllers to work traffic simultaneously. These procedures provide a better flow of traffic in and out of the airport and help reduce delays.

“These are just some examples of how we work with members of the aviation community in the Philadelphia area to make this complex airspace more efficient and safe,” notes Ducharme. “The development of these measures also is a reflection of the dedication and resourcefulness of the FAA personnel at Philadelphia Airport. With them, these improvements work for everyone.”

Philadelphia Tower has also been the recipient of other honors, including the 1996 National Air Traffic Customer Service Award and the Quality Assurance Facility Service Award.

There are 41 Level 5 air traffic control towers and TRACONS in the National Airspace System. There are considered the busiest air traffic control facilities in the country.

Eastern Region includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

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