New Technology Could Lure Commercial Flights Back to NOCO Airport
High-tech video cameras have been mounted throughout the Northern Colorado Regional Airport.
The new technology part of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot program could be the key to luring commercial flights back to the Northern Colorado Regional Airport located in Loveland — once it gets approval for takeoff.
A lack of a traditional FAA-certified air traffic control tower is what Allegiant Airlines cited when pulling its service from the Northern Colorado Regional Airport in October.
The new technology being tested out would effectively replace the multi-million dollar air traffic control tower required for commercial flights with a more cost effective remote system.
The system combines camera input with radar input, allowing for control of air traffic from a remote location. A similar pilot system is also being tested out at an airport in Leesburg, Virgina.
“Being the pioneer is fun and exciting,” said Northern Colorado Regional Airport director Jason Licon. “But being the pioneer also means you get to go where nobody else has been which sometimes can result in being shot with arrows...and for good reason.
"The FAA takes its time to get everything rolled out safely.”
Northern Colorado Regional Airport was selected for the pilot program back in 2015. There’s been delays in the implementation but FAA testing is now scheduled to occur in the spring — there’s no specific timeline for approval.
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Licon said the airport has maintained communication with Allegiant Airlines, which had previously flew out of the airport for about a decade until 2012. Allegiant Airlines declined to comment for this story.
Northern Colorado Regional Airport also does actively market to a variety of other air service providers.
Licon said the goal is to ultimately “provide travelers in the future with a local and more convenient alternative to Denver.”
Until the remote tower is approved, the Northern Colorado Regional Airport will stay plenty busy.
The airport located just off Interstate 25 averages between 85,000 to 95,000 takeoffs and landings per year.
In addition to private flights, the airport serves as training ground for flight schools, transportation for specialized treatment and care for Medical Center of the Rockies, an aerial tanker base to fight wildfires, and the airport from which fish are aerially dropped into area lakes and rivers.
“The Airport provides a gateway to the region for high speed transportation which is a must for many area businesses that are competing in a global economy," Licon said.
"It is the goal of the Airport to parallel its growth with that in Northern Colorado."
DOWNTOWN NOCO SERIES
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- New Technology Could Lure Commercial Flights Back to NOCO Airport