Abilene Regional Airport is seeing change this winter, including a new air-traffic control tower and an advisory committee composed of college students.
The new tower will be located on the east side of the airfield and stand at 121 feet tall. It will be almost twice as tall as the current tower, which was built in the early 1950s, said Don Green, director of Abilene Regional Airport.
The new tower will increase the visibility of the air-traffic controllers to 100 percent of the airfield. More than 100 feet of the new tower has already been built, and the rest is expected to be completed in late 2011.
“The tower will open in March 2012,” Green said. “Before the tower is used, air-traffic controllers must test all of the equipment.”
While Green is increasing visibility on the airfield, Melissa Murphy, business development manger for Abilene Regional Airport, is working to increase awareness on local college campuses about the airport’s services.
“Our target demographic has been business travel for a very long time,” Murphy said. “We want to reach out to other demographics, mainly students, and we feel that the best way to reach them is through their peers.”
Students were selected to the committee through the marketing and Ad/PR departments of local universities. Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University will each have two students on the committee. Shea Rattan, junior Ad/PR major from Midland, is currently the only student representing ACU.
The newly-formed student advisory committee met for the first time Nov. 29. The committee was formed to help the airport serve students better and to inform students of the options available to them. Students from the committee will administer a survey on their respective campuses next week.
“We want to reach students who don’t fly out of Abilene because they don’t know much about the options they have here,” Murphy said. “We need to know how many students fly, where they are going and where they are coming from.”