Council Approves Murfreesboro Airport Application for Control Tower

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The Murfreesboro City Council gave approval Thurs., Sept. 21, 2023, for the Municipal Airport to submit application to participate in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Federal Contract Tower Program. If approved by the FAA, an air traffic control tower could be operational in three to five years.

As Murfreesboro grows, maintenance and improvement of the City’s Airport is an economic growth and development priority. A new terminal completed in 2020 is just one part of the on-going plans. A Federal Contract Tower program would continue to enhance Airport services.

“The Airport Commission has invested in technology, contracted consultant services, developed Standard Operating Procedures, coordinated with the FAA and Tennessee Aeronautics Division, and collaborated with its commercial operators as well as its customers,” said Airport Director Chad Gehrke.

The Murfreesboro Airport Commission recently approved application for the Federal Contract Tower Program after Quadrex Aviation studied the Murfreesboro Airport’s qualifications for the FAA program that provides air traffic services. The study determined that the Airport qualifies to apply for the program.

“Several models were used in the cost-benefit analysis relative to Smyrna and John C. Tune airports,” added Gehrke. “The Quadrez studies validated the need for the control tower application with and without MTSU flight training at the airport.” It comes as Nashville International Airport continues to grow and expand.

The Middle Tennessee State University Aerospace program has announced that it will be vacating Murfreesboro Airport property in the next three to five years as well.

Before a control tower is approved and constructed, there are several preliminary studies must be completed including, siting, environmental, and design. The cost of the Control Tower, including required studies and reports through construction, is estimated to be $7 to 9 million over several years. The FAA assists with 90 percent of the cost and pays for salaries of 5 to 6 air traffic controllers.

The Murfreesboro Municipal Airport recently underwent required maintenance of the Runway, Taxiway and Apron for safety enhancements as part of FAA requirements.

“Well maintained pavement is an FAA requirement under “Grant Assurances,” added Gehrke. “Ensuring safety and efficient use of the airport is also a major focus of the Murfreesboro Airport and the Tennessee Division of Aeronautics.”

The Airport’s 16,000-square-foot terminal includes a large main lobby with raised and ground level observation areas, lounge seating, a large leasable Business Center, smaller conference room space, pilot lounge, and office space. The new Hangar 1 enhanced the Airport’s infrastructure with a new modern, versatile hangar facility, allowing the expansion of Mike Jones Aircraft Sales, and creation of highly skilled jobs.