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Kissimmee Airport receives federal grant to meet current safety standards

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Kissimmee Gateway Airport received $1 million from a federal grant that will help modernize and rebuild a new traffic control center.

The grant from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Contract Tower Competitive Grant Program will help to modernize their traffic control tower to meet current FAA visual performance criteria, increasing the eye height from 43 feet to 85 feet.

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“Funding for these federal contract towers has been a little less priority in the funding system, and so because of the bipartisan infrastructure law that was just passed there are specific dollars in there for federal contract towers and that’s where this money came from, so it’s just the right timing here for Kissimmee,” said Shaun Germolus, Kissimmee Gateway Airport Director of Aviation.

In January, State Representative Darren Soto wrote a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker in support of this award.

“The airport has found an incredible niche locally in executive travel, flight training, and emergency evacuation routes. I was proud to vote for the Infrastructure Law last Congress, which provided the FAA with billions of dollars to ensure safer skies and a brighter future for our community, where progress and prosperity soar hand in hand,” said Soto.

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Kissimmee Gateway plans to use the funding for the design phase of the project. The airport expects the tower to assist with its forecasted traffic of over 160,000 annual visitors.

“It will make their [air control operators] day- to day more efficient in the airfield much easier,” said Germolus.

Kissimmee Gateway is a reliever airport for Orlando International Airport, it’s also used for flight training. The airport sees around 400 landings and take-offs a day.

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Germolus said the funds come at a time when the airport is working to become a manufacturing maintenance and future aircraft and support facility with about 200 acres.

Germolus the airport’s new master plan is expected to bring in more high-paying jobs.

The Gateway airport has been in operation since the early 40′s and first was an army airport base. Plans to start construction bidding on the new tower will start new year.

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