El Paso International Airport the First in Nation to Utilize GPS Satellite Based Airfield Inspection Program

El Paso International Airport is first in the nation to utilize a GPS (Global Position System) based Airfield Inspection Program. El Paso International Airport as an FAA Certified Airport is required to manage a self- inspection program for its airfield, including runways, taxiways, associated lighting systems, navigational aids, airfield signage, construction, fencing, firefighting capability, and other safety related issues required for the safe operations of an airport.

Effective Monday, March 6, 2006, the Airport implemented the full time use of an electronic GPS based airfield self-inspection program. The Inspection Program will move inspections to a paperless pictorial program on a touch screen computer in the Airport's inspection vehicles. The program utilizes satellite photos and GPS equipment to identify all airfield features including runways, taxiways, signage, etc.

As the inspector drives, a visual map of all key features comes into view. A problem can be noted on the computer, which locks the location in place and creates a work order to repair the specific issue (i.e. Runway/taxiway light).

The program also "demands" that the inspection vehicle cover all required areas and documents the inspection and associated route by date and time. El Paso will be the first U.S. Airport to move to this program and the second in North America behind Toronto's Lester Pearson International Airport.

Patrick T. Abeln, Director of Aviation, stated, "This new technology will allow operations officers and repair crews to complete required FAA inspections and repairs in less time, with greater accuracy, and with better reporting capability than the current paper-based system. This translates into monetary savings and most important of all, increased margins of safety for airfield operations and the flying public."