Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Mesquite Reporter
Mesquite Metro Airport broke ground Tuesday on a $3 million project to build its first air traffic control tower.
The Mesquite airport is taking business and safety to the next level with its first air traffic control tower.
Mesquite Metro Airport broke ground on the $3 million project on Tuesday. The tower will be finished in August.
"I believe it will help us with the competition," said Cynthia Godfrey, airport director. "Typically, people fly close to where it's going to be a destination. It will make us a little more competitive because ... of the major things that have happened in the Dallas Metroplex."
The city has never had a traffic control tower, and 90 percent of the $3 million improvement is paid for with federal money.
"Most importantly, it enhances safety and services," Mesquite Mayor John Monaco said. "That's what the most important."
The airport, the second-ranked reliever airport in the area, has about 150,000 departing and arriving flights per year. The flights avoid the traffic and congestion at bigger airports such as Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Pilot instructors at a heliport in neighboring Garland who fly to the Mesquite Metro Airport every day with students said the safety upgrade is needed.
"It can be a hindrance and a help," instructor Nicholas Chilcott said. "Just because it gets so busy, it'll be nice to have someone, you know, looking over, watching over you. When you're busy instructing students, it's nice to have someone making sure other people are away from you."
The city now has plans for industrial development around the airport.