For Immediate Release

Release No. ASW 21-02
December 12, 2002
Contact: John Clabes, Roland Herwig
Phone: (405) 954-7500

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — In dual ceremonies today, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) national and regional officials honored air traffic controllers here as FAA’s Level-9 air traffic control facility of the year. Along with city, aviation industry and government officials, they also dedicated Corpus Christi International Airport’s new air traffic control tower and tower radar control facility.

Linda Schuessler, FAA’s acting director of Air Traffic Service in Washington, DC, came to Corpus Christi to honor the controllers’ achievements and to officiate at the tower dedication.

Facility of the year honors were for excellence in nine major categories ranging from operational efficiency to human relations practices in 2001. The Level-9 designation is for some 30 tower and radar Approach Control facilities nationally with an operational workload similar to that of local controllers’. Some 400,000 air traffic operations are conducted annually by the controllers, with military air traffic approximately 65 percent of the total.

Controllers at Corpus Christi tower and radar approach control provide air traffic control services for aircraft arriving, departing, or over flying Corpus Christi International, Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, Harlingen, Brownsville, McAllen, Navy Cabaniss, Navy Waldron, and numerous non-towered airports from 45 miles north of Corpus Christi southward through the Rio Grande Valley into Mexico.

Tower dedicated

Controllers received their facility of the year recognition in a new $11 million air traffic control facility also formally dedicated today. The new 21,000 square foot facility is located on the south side of Corpus Christi International Airport. The tower stands 131 feet tall and the radar room houses 10 radar control positions.

“This facility was built around the people who work here, with their input and help,” noted Warren Meehan, air traffic manager at the tower. “It has been a joint effort with participation by both air traffic and airway facilities staff and their union locals. Accommodation of operational requirements and quality of life needs makes this one of the finest air traffic facilities constructed,” Meehan added.

The new facility is considered an air traffic control showplace and replaces a 40-year-old tower. Ground breaking was March 31, 2000. Operational cut-over to the new facility was completed by early June of this year. The most notable feature of the tower is the mushroom-shaped area just below the cab. This junction area contains environmental equipment, a break room, microwave dish balconies and equipment access corridors.

For the facility of the year honors, other Level 9 air traffic control facilities competing included FAA towers or radar approach controls such as: Albuquerque NM, Anchorage AK, Austin TX, Dallas Love Field TX, Dayton OH, Denver Centennial CO, Fort Worth Meacham TX, Indianapolis IN, Jacksonville FL, Little Rock AR, and Long Beach CA.