Beginning April 1, the operational hours of the Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) at San Marcos Regional Airport will extend by two hours each day to meet the logistic needs generated by increased air traffic. The ATCT will be staffed from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily to safely and efficiently guide aircraft into the airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted the extension of operating hours at the City’s request. The extended hours will be funded through the FAA Contract Tower Program which provides air traffic control services at airports that clearly demonstrate needs and benefits.
“San Marcos Regional Airport has consistently set operational records and continues to grow as a vital piece of our economy,” said City Manager Bert Lumbreras. “This extension is an important step toward maintaining a safe environment for everyone who uses the airport, including businesses and recreational pilots.”
Texas Aviation Partners, which manages the San Marcos Regional Airport, submitted data to the FAA showing that between June and September of last year there were an estimated 2,000 total takeoffs and landings that occurred in the three hours immediately following the ATCT closure. Within the same time period, two planes collided while attempting to land at the airport after the tower closed.
Altogether, there was a 22 percent increase in operations at the airport between 2019 and 2020. The increased amount of air traffic and the safety concerns associated with the existing hours underscored the need for the extension.
“We are tremendously grateful to Senator Cornyn and Representative Doggett for their support of the San Marcos community,” said Mayor Jane Hughson. “Their efforts played a key role in making these necessary safety changes at the airport a reality.”
The federal lawmakers recognized the importance of safety at San Marcos Regional Airport and each lobbied to the FAA on behalf of the extension.
San Marcos Regional Airport is categorized as a “National” airport in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems and is the only FAA designated reliever airport for both the Austin-Bergstrom and San Antonio International Airports.
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