The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is awarding $4 million to Centennial Airport to design a new airport traffic control tower, the administration announced.
The Centennial Airport, located at 7565 S. Peoria St., is a general aviation airport. According to the FAA, it is one of the 25 busiest airports in the U.S. and averages 1,000 takeoffs and landings per day.
The tower is the building that the air traffic controllers sit in to direct traffic in, out and around the airport’s airspace, said Chris Thompson, Centennial Airport’s manager of communications, via email. It is controlled by the FAA but the airport assists in general maintenance and upkeep, he said.
Centennial Airport owns the current tower, which opened in 1985, and the FAA leases it from the airport, Thompson said. The new tower will replace the current tower and will increase operational capacity and enhance airfield safety, the FAA said in the release.
“The current tower is approaching 40 years old and there are some aspects of the building that need updating to continue safe and proper operation in the future and, much like a vehicle or other item, sometimes it is more cost-effective to replace than update,” Thompson wrote. “There are also some other operational advantages to a new tower depending on what site is selected.”
The $4 million will be set aside for site selection and the engineering and design of a new tower, Thompson said. It will be a multi-year project and the actual construction timeline will be determined at a later date once the design work is done, he explained.
“It’s exciting and flattering to receive the grant,” Thompson wrote. “Centennial Airport has played a big role in the economic growth of both Arapahoe and Douglas counties and it is a good feeling to know that the FAA nationally recognizes our importance and is willing to give us a share of the pie so to say.”
The $4 million funding comes from the Airport Terminals Program, which is one of three aviation programs created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, according to the release. This law provides $1 billion annually for five years for airport terminal grants.
“Today’s funding doesn’t just improve Centennial Airport’s terminal. It creates opportunities in the community for good-paying jobs and a chance to be part of our country’s thriving aviation sector,” FAA Deputy Administrator A. Bradley Mims said in the release.
Centennial Airport is one of three airports in Colorado that received funding. Denver International Airport was awarded $22 million to fund a portion of the baggage handling system replacement that the airport is planning. The Colorado Springs Airport received $6 million to help fund the remodel of its terminal concourse.
“Americans deserve the best airports in the world, and with demand for air travel surging back, this funding to improve the passenger experience couldn’t come at a more urgent time,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the release. “These grants will make it faster and easier to check your bags, get through security, and find your gate, all while creating jobs and supporting local economies.”