NATCA comments on need for operating control tower at New Orleans Lakefront Airport

May 16, 2007
Joins in call for restoring facility


The US National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has called for an operating control tower to be restored at New Orleans Lakefront Airport.

According to NATCA an operating Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) control tower at Lakefront Airport is essential to safety and the economic recovery of New Orleans.

The organisation said that air traffic controllers, pilots and business aviation officials have emphasised the need for a working tower, pointing out that there has been no operating control tower at Lakefront since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, except for a ten-day period around the Sugar Bowl nearly five months ago.

Although the number of aircraft operating at Lakefront Airport is still below the number prior to Hurricane Katrina, NATCA said that the airport is recovering and aircraft operations are increasing by the month.

NATCA also claimed that the number of unsafe incidents at the airport has increased, including aircraft passing each other at high speed in opposite directions on the runway or pilots having to abort landings to prevent aircraft from colliding on the runway.

The FAA has made a commitment to reopen the permanent air traffic control tower at Lakefront by 1 July, but NATCA said that substantive clean-up from hurricane damage has not yet started and the date is unrealistic.

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