Friday, November 6, 2015    

Sarasota-Manatee, FL ~ Today, Congressman Vern Buchanan and top officials with the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority (SMAA), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Halfacre Construction Company broke ground on the site of a new air traffic control tower (ATCT) at the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), representing a significant investment in the future of local air traffic control. The new tower will replace a facility that has served SRQ since 1986. In a unique partnership, the ATC Tower will be built as a result of joint funding efforts by the Airport Authority, the FDOT, and the FAA. The total cost, including design, construction, and equipment, is anticipated to reach $25 million. “This unique funding arrangement enhances safety at SRQ while permitting future additional airfield development that allows the airport to remain totally self-supporting from its business operations,” said Dr. Peter A. Wish, SMAA Chairman. People flying in and out of SRQ should have the best technology,” Congressman Buchanan added. “The existing tower is outdated. It is also standing in the way of development. The new tower will create jobs and help position the airport for additional economic development. I applaud federal, state, and local officials for working together to make this happen.” “The FAA is excited to collaborate with the airport authority and the Florida Department of Transportation to bring a state-of-the art air traffic control tower to Sarasota Bradenton International Airport,” Dennis E. Roberts, Administrator of the FAA Southern Region, said. “Working with our partners, we can provide the latest facilities and equipment, and deliver the safest, most efficient service to SRQ travelers.” The new 139-foot-tall tower is scheduled to be completed in 2017 and will be equipped with the latest aviation technology, which will give air traffic controllers more precise, system-wide information about weather and flight data.  The tower cab will give controllers a birds-eye view of the entire airfield, and will enable them to direct aircraft in and around SRQ. Last year, the FAA ATCT at SRQ handled about 100,000 aircraft operations. A 9,000 square-foot base building will house administrative offices and training facilities.   ### Contact: Fredrick J. Piccolo, AAE President, Chief Executive Officer 941.359.2770 ext. 4200