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Keith Smith

Western US: new airports and standalone option

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When we first launched the Western US Expansion Area at the end of 2016, the idea was to provide a small number of core airports and a healthy number of rotating bonus fields for jet pilots to stretch their legs. The airspace didn't have enough towered airports to warrant a standalone subscription, so it was released as an optional add-on.

Since the launch, our thinking has evolved and the purpose for Western US has changed from a relatively small collection of widely-spaced airports for airliners to a larger ecosystem of airports for a wide range of aircraft, including pistons.

To that end, we've made some changes:

1) The bonus fields have all become full-time airports. No more rotation.

2) Amarillo, El Paso and Four Corners Regional have been added to the airport list.

3) We've announced a road map for the Western US coverage area containing just over 40 towered airports, including all of the Class Bravo airports, all of the Class Charlie airports and strategically-selected Class D airports within the Western US coverage area.

4) This is a big one...Western US is now available as a standalone subscription. It will eventually contain as many towered airports at the ZLA coverage area and is already well on the way with 20 towered airports. This change allows pilots to have "Western US only" access for the same cost as a traditional ZLA-only subscription. They'll even have ZLA overflight privileges at or above 14,000ft, allowing them to transition ZLA as the go from one Western US airport to another (eg, SFO-PHX)

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