BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Almost a year ago, the Bend Municipal Airport was informed by the Federal Aviation Administration that it was now eligible for a federal grant program to add a traffic control tower air over the next five years.
The airport is applying for a consultant on September 22 and will submit a grant application through the Oregon Central Commission on Transportation (COACT) by September 29.
The airport expects to receive a notice on the status of demand in the spring and hopes to begin construction in a year or two after that.
This would be through the FAA’s Contract Tower (FCT) program, staffed by private companies, rather than FAA air traffic controllers.
Bend Airport is Oregon’s third busiest, and a control tower is expected to cost $ 7.5 million.
But those who use the airport say it’s worth it.
Stakeholders during the master plan process identified a control tower as the most important improvement they would like to see. Officials said adding a tower would better organize the flow of incoming and outgoing aircraft and make operations safer and more efficient.
A pilot responding to a city survey in 2019 said, âI have personally witnessed and intervened to prevent multiple near misses on approach and in traffic patterns that would never occur at a tower airport. It is only a matter of time before we have one theft (collision) and several deaths. “
Noah Chast will have more on the airport tower plan and why it is needed tonight on NewsChannel 21 Fox @ 4.