NTRA upgrades pushed back

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DENISON, Tex. (KXII) - Interim Director for the North Texas Regional Airport Mike Livezey says the infrastructure upgrades that could have brought radar service to North Texas Regional Airport won't be happening anytime soon.

The FAA told Livezey and airport officials last week they won't bring the upgrades to NTRA next year.

The $400,000 pledged by the county to help with the radar upgrade is staying put for now, too.

Instead, Grayson County Judge Bill Magers says that money will go back to the county's general fund.

"The money was earmarked for traditional radar, and since that is not going to be an option, we're going to hold on to the tax payer dollars for the tax payers," said Magers.

Magers said it could now take 3-5 years to get new radar technology at NTRA, but the county will have the funds to pay for it in the future.

Instead, Livezey says the FAA has been working towards a space-based system of tracking planes in the sky with satellites, what he calls an upgrade from tracking them from the ground.

Larger airports are already rolling out this new technology.

"It works very similar to the radar, its just that now, the infrastructure is much easier to have from space versus the ground," said Livezey.

"With this new technology being rolled out, everything is up in the air. We don't really know what's going to happen other than we're going to go to work with some regional partners to try to get on the radar with some new technology," said Magers.

Meanwhile, Livezey says nothing changes from the pilot's perspective, and everything is business as usual.

"They're still going to be announcing where they are, they're going to be talking to the controllers, the controllers are still going to be directing when to turn, when they're coming to land at the airport," said Livezey.