The control tower at New Orleans Lakefront Airport was closed down by
Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and is still not back in operation. On
Monday, the National Business Aviation Association, AOPA, and the
National Air Traffic Controllers Association joined together to blast
the FAA for "dragging its feet," and called for progress. The tower
is "essential to safety and the economic recovery of New Orleans,"
the groups said in a joint news release. The field is growing busier, and a
number of unsafe incidents have been reported, such as aircraft on
the runway passing each other at high speed in opposite directions
and pilots having to go around to prevent collisions on the runway.
"The FAA can and must restore an operational control tower at
Lakefront before an incident becomes an accident," said NATCA
spokesman Darrell Meachum. NBAA President Ed Bolen said his
group "is enormously supportive of efforts to revitalize and enhance
Lakefront Airport." AOPA's Andy Cebula said that Lakefront used to be
a vibrant GA community, with two flight schools and a lot of traffic.
"Now, in addition to the tower, Lakefront's instrument landing system
remains out of service," he said. "AOPA wants to see services that
enhance safety for pilots who use Lakefront returned to pre-Katrina
levels." The FAA initially had said it would provide a temporary
mobile tower for the airport, but then said it would reopen the
permanent tower instead. However, the FAA has not even begun
substantive work on the tower, according to NATCA.