TRACONs are U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) facilities that house air traffic controllers who guide aircraft approaching and departing airports. TRACON controllers generally handle within a 30- to 50-mile radius of an airport and up to 10 000 feet, as well as aircraft flying over that airspace. They are responsible for the safe separation of aircraft flying in the busy areas surrounding airports.
Once an approaching aircraft that is landing is within five miles of an airport and below 2 500 feet, TRACON controllers hand off the aircraft to air traffic controllers in the airport tower.
Departing aircraft leaving the TRACON’s range of control are handed off to controllers at FAA enroute center or Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC). ARTCCs handle high-altitude traffic.
TRACON operations are expected to grow at an average annual rate of 1.1 percent per year between 2020 and 2040, reach 49.4 million operations per year in 2040, according to the latest FAA Aerospace Forecast.