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CLT Opens “Amazing” New Tower and TRACON

Charlotte ATCT (CLT) officially commissioned its new tower and TRACON on Feb. 22 (2/22/22) at 2:22 a.m. EST. The tower stands 370 feet tall, with a 850-square-foot cab, making it double the size and height of the previous tower. That, according to FacRep Anthony Schifano, provides a broader view of the airfield, adequate space for all operational positions, and the ability to house all the new technology that has been added since the old facility was built in the 1970s.

Executive Vice President Andrew LeBovidge and Southern Regional Vice President Jim Marinitti joined Schifano for the commissioning-day celebration. “I was excited to be able to see the facility on its first day of operations,” LeBovidge said. “It is a dramatic improvement for Charlotte and the National Airspace System – a modern environment for our members to perform their safety-critical work.”

Added Schifano, “The facility is absolutely amazing.”

Pictured outside the new tower, from left to right: Ryan Hughes, Richard Dalrymple, CLT Vice President Justin Garay, Aaron Bell, CLT FacRep Anthony Schifano, Cody Osteen.

Schifano said the workforce that operates the new facility has quadrupled in size from the old tower’s original staffing. “ATC staffing alone has increased dramatically over the past 50 years, not to mention the addition of TMC, Staff Support, and TechOps personnel,” he said.

The facility base building is very large, with 40,000+ square feet, which provides extensive equipment storage space, adequate break room, office, and workgroup space for employees.

Schifano said the CLT NATCA local has been part of the new tower project from the beginning and is proud of the work accomplished in collaboration with Engineering Services, ATC management, and TechOps.

“Our members and our team led the charge in design, layout, operational equipment placement, and even the finer details such as ATC under counter placard information,” he said. “We had workgroups on various projects during the transition ranging from operational, administrative, and even NATCA break areas.

“During the evening of the cutover, the workforce at CLT NATCA came together in a professional manner that was noticed by everyone on site. With any major cutover, there will be obstacles. Multiple frequency issues, system outages, and the chaos of technicians working around them was plenty of reason for excuses during a very stressful period of time. Instead, our members leaned in and did what they do. Quite simply put: Once again, they rocked it!”

Schifano said the project was one of the best experiences of his 22-year FAA career, and one of the proudest moments of his nine years as FacRep. “Being part of the entire process as a NATCA leader and having our NATCA team shine in every situation they were faced with is something I was honored to be part of,” he said.

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