Pilot controlled lights to stay at Bangor
Bangor International Airport has decided to keep the pilot controlled landing light system it recently installed.
The airport installed pilot-controlled runway lights in anticipation of further operating restrictions by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Although newly revised legislation has halted the furloughing of air traffic controllers resulting from sequestration, there is still some uncertainty about further budget cuts by the US government.
The system allows pilots of approaching aircraft to illuminate the runway lights if the tower is left unmanned, simply by switching on their cockpit microphone.
“It won’t be known until June whether the FAA’s budget cuts or sequestration, as they are known, will lead to the closure of towers altogether, or to reduced operating hours,” says Bangor airport director Tony Caruso. “As America’s gateway airport for Europe on the Great Circle route, with 24/7 customs and border protection, to say nothing of our role as a TSA-designated diversion point of entry for emergencies, we’ve chosen to pre-empt matters to maintain normal operations.”
The proposed airport tower closures and controllers furloughs would have resulted in thousands of delays to flights and passengers, if they had continued.
“We’ve a long-standing reputation for never closing, no matter what the weather or other factors throw our way,” said Caruso. “The installation of pilot-controlled runway lights is another example of Bangor International remaining pro-active to ensure that it’s business as usual, no matter the pressures.”
Located on America’s north eastern seaboard, the New England airport is the closest US port of entry from Europe and provides the shortest trans-Atlantic crossing on the Great Circle route.
Photograph: Bangor ground crew handles a visiting Gulfstream aircraft.