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New air traffic control tower opens at Edmonton International Airport

EDMONTON- Air traffic controllers in our city now have a new workplace. Edmonton International Airport’s new eight-story Central Tower officially opened Thursday morning.

A significant part of EIA’s Expansion 2012 project, the tower is the Capital Region’s newest landmark.

“The multifunctional building includes a new NAV CANADA control tower at the top and a new integrated baggage system at the bottom. That left space for retail and office space in the middle, which will be home to NAV CANADA, EIA and Canadian Helicopters offices,” said Reg Milley, EIA President and Chief Executive Officer.

With its wave-like ribbon exterior, the building is not just visually appealing. The tower uses many design elements that are environmentally friendly; so much so that EIA is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) silver certification for the tower.

“It’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but also from an environmental perspective (the ribbons) keep the sun out in the summer when it’s at its highest and strongest rays. And in the winter, because of the continuous windows we have, we get great lighting. So it’s very, very energy efficient,” Milley explained.

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NAV CANADA air traffic controllers sit high atop the tower, with a clear view of the airspace, runways and taxiways. Controllers are also using the latest technology.

“At 48 metres high, the new control tower is four metres taller than the old one, and the floor space in the cab is about 50 per cent bigger,” said Todd Trischuk, Control Tower Manager. “The extra height improves the controllers’ sight lines and the larger area makes it a better working environment. The cab is also equipped with new ergonomically designed consoles.”

“We have NAV CANADA radar- we call it NARDS- and (it’s) a close in radar that we’re controlling aircraft within a 12 nautical mile radius of the international airport,” added Mark Anderson, NAV CANADA Unit Operations Specialist.

The previous tower was over 40 years old, and staff members say the new control facility was needed to continue to serve the growing population at EIA.

“The airport’s expansion… was a perfect opportunity to upgrade our air traffic control tower and provide advanced tools and equipment for our employees to continue to provide excellent services from,” said Rudy Kellar, NAV CANADA Executive Vice President, Service Delivery.

EIA is Canada’s fifth busiest airport in passenger numbers, serving 6.7 million passengers in 2012.

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Edmonton International Airport's new eight-story Central Tower officially opened Thursday, May 9, 2013. Shane Jones, Global News
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Edmonton International Airport's new eight-story Central Tower officially opened Thursday, May 9, 2013. Shane Jones, Global News
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Edmonton International Airport's new eight-story Central Tower officially opened Thursday, May 9, 2013. Shane Jones, Global News
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Edmonton International Airport's new eight-story Central Tower officially opened Thursday, May 9, 2013. Shane Jones, Global News
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Edmonton International Airport's new eight-story Central Tower officially opened Thursday, May 9, 2013. Global News
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Edmonton International Airport's new eight-story Central Tower officially opened Thursday, May 9, 2013. Shane Jones, Global News

With files from Shane Jones. 

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