Sun, Dec 21, 2008
Most Air Traffic Control Buildings Have Exceeded Their Planned
A report requested by Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-MN and chairman of
the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, was
released Wednesday by the Transportation Department's Inspector
General's office, painting a grim assessment of the physical
condition of the nation's air traffic control facilities.
Common problems include control tower windows that fog up with
condensation, ceilings that drip, and buildings that have far
exceeded their planned useful life. "It is important to note that
the maintenance issues we observed did not impact the safe
operations at the facilities we visited," the report said.
Of the 420 Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control
centers, 59 percent are over 30 years old, and 15 facilities are
over 50 years old. The expected useful life of the buildings is a
modest 25 to 30 years.
The report determined many of the problems stemmed from a
previous FAA policy of requiring local offices to budget
maintenance dollars. More often than not, maintenance spending was
limited to the funds left over at year's end, the Associated Press
In 2004, the FAA centralized maintenance planning, but currently
has a $240 million backlog of needed projects, a figure expected to
balloon to over $380 million by 2020.
The FAA agreed with the report's conclusions, adding that it is
currently working to address many of the problems outlined
National Air Traffic Controllers Association spokesman Doug
facility improvements would be welcomed. "This
has been one of our top concerns for the last several years as
we've seen our workplaces deteriorate in major cities and
not-so-major cities around the country."
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