Austin Airport Gets First Modernized Tower Simulation System in America

After near misses, congressman calls it a “modest” step

A plane at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (Photo by John Anderson)

The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has received the nation’s first modernized Tower Simulation System, a visual database that will help train air traffic controllers through simulated airport scenarios, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday.

The new system will have enhanced graphics and capabilities meant to provide immersive training for controllers. The simulator is a training tool and the change will not have any impact on airport operations or the public, the FAA said.

“We are incredibly grateful to our Federal Aviation Administration partners to be chosen for this groundbreaking initiative,” said a statement from ABIA. “Safety is our most important shared priority with all our airport partners and we thank the FAA for their commitment to ensuring the safety of air travel for our community.”

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, said he’s been working with the FAA to ensure support for air traffic controllers for months.

“After multiple near misses at ABIA, I’m pleased the Federal Aviation Administration has prioritized us for updated safety equipment and installed the Nation’s first Advanced Tower Simulator at our airport,” Doggett said in a statement. “This is a modest first step in improving safety for travelers and enhancing training for air traffic controllers, who are often overworked, overwhelmed, and understaffed.”

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