BWI Controllers Complete Potomac TRACON Staffing

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Forty air traffic controllers from Baltimore have moved into the FAA's new approach facility in Warrenton, Va., joining controllers from four other airports. The facility, called the Potomac Consolidated TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control), opened last December to serve the busy Baltimore-Washington area airspace. The BWI newcomers join controllers from Washington Dulles International, Reagan Washington National, Richmond International, Baltimore-Washington International and Andrews Air Force Base. About 300 FAA employees at the center now handle about 5,000 flights a day in 23,000 square miles of airspace covering parts of five states. Later this year, the FAA will begin implementing a redesign of the Potomac airspace in the Baltimore-Washington area. The FAA says the new design will allow aircraft to fly more direct routings, reach higher altitudes more quickly on departure and stay at higher altitudes for a longer time on arrival. The redesign will result in less noise at the surface and an estimated $25 million in annual fuel savings. "Programs such as this are a key component in our effort to safely increase aviation system capacity by 30 percent in the next decade," FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey said in a news release. The new TRACON cost about $110 million.