Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina, US, has opened its new public safety facility that would house the airport’s police, aircraft rescue, firefighting and communications centre.

The designing and construction for this facility took nearly two years to complete and approximately $4.4m was spent on its construction.

The existing 40-year old facility was replaced by the airport because it had been built when the airport saw lesser passenger traffic, fewer emergency equipments and less number of staff.

"This state-of-the-art public safety facility was designed specifically for the needs of the airport now and into the future."

Asheville Regional Airport executive director Lew Bleiweis said: "This state-of-the-art public safety facility was designed specifically for the needs of the airport now and into the future. As the airport has grown, so has our public safety service. More staff members and specialised emergency equipment are needed now than ever before."

As Asheville is a commercial service airport, it is required to meet certain safety standards that have been set up by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The new facility has been placed at a better location to make it possible for the staff to respond quickly in case of an emergency.

"We now have improved access to the airfield with the new positioning of this facility," added Bleiweis.

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The facility’s larger equipment bay is suitable for the newer and larger aircraft firefighting trucks that are currently in use. It also houses a centralised communications centre that caters to the needs of the entire airport, an emergency operations centre, offices, a training room, dormitories and living space for public safety staff.

The funds for the construction were given by FAA and North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) grant funds. Airport funds intended for aviation system improvements were also used to cover the $4.4 million cost.