Increased flights at the Quad Cities International Airport broke a record this May.
More than 4,200 tower movements were recorded, exceeding the recent high of 3,655 set in May 2019. The airport defines a tower movement as any time a plane takes off or lands, regardless of the size of the aircraft.
Tower movements are important for multiple reasons, with one of the most essential being federal funding. The busier the airport, the better chance it has to receive grant funding for the purchase of equipment, supporting maintenance and completing improvement projects, according to a press release.
“Despite the challenges regional airports are facing growing commercial travel, the general aviation community remains a beacon of light,” said public relations and marketing manager Ashleigh Davis.
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The QC Airport is designated as Class C (Charlie) airspace. Classification is generally based on four factors: traffic volume, type of operations, required level of safety and national/public interest.
Airspace classifications are designed to enhance aviation safety and decrease risk of midair collisions by separating aviation traffic. O’Hare International Airport, for comparison, is designated as Class B. There are six classifications in the U.S. for controlled airspace.
Airspace classification plays a role in attracting new or expanded commercial air service, the press release states. It not only communicates anticipated traffic at a given airport but also what size aircraft is common or manageable, which helps with future planning.
Additionally, airspace classification directly impacts air traffic controllers’ earning potential. The higher the classification, the higher the skill level required which yields higher compensation.
“Credit for this milestone really belongs to the flights schools and instructors based at MLI, and our thriving general aviation community. Class C is ideal for flight schools and student pilots because it provides the opportunity to learn to listen to the tower as well as communicate with it, without the heavy congestion of busier airports," Davis said.