Airport Control Towers Full of Asbestos

According to representatives from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and the Professional Airways Systems Specialists, some of the nation’s many air-traffic control towers are plagued with deteriorating conditions, including exposed asbestos, toxic mold, and a variety of pests like bats and wasps.

In a report to Congress, members of these organizations said the deplorable conditions are “endangering airplane passengers and threatening the health of air-traffic controllers, union officials and equipment repairmen.

“That’s intolerable,” responded Rep. James Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He and other lawmakers scolded the Federal Aviation Administration for failing to ask for as much fix-up money as Congress had suggested, reports an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Neglected buildings are in dire need of maintenance and repair, including removal of dangerous friable asbestos, but the FAA is ignoring cries for help, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and the Professional Airways Systems Specialists.

“Congress recognized the problem, Congress authorized the money, but the FAA did not use the money,” said Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., chairman of the panel’s aviation subcommittee, which held the hearing.

Pat Forrey, president of the controllers association, said the FAA has failed to answer pleas from controllers to fix chronic and dangerous conditions at dozens of sites.

“Aging air-traffic control facilities have not been a priority for the FAA,” he said.

Forrey added that many controllers are suffering from respiratory problems, skin rashes, and other ailments that may be a result of exposure to asbestos or mold.

Leave a Reply