Report Finds FAA Facilities Deteriorating

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The results of a government audit released last week show that many of the FAA buildings that house air traffic control staff and equipment are aging and deteriorating. "While the average facility has an expected useful life of approximately 25 to 30 years, 59 percent of FAA facilities are over 30 years old," according to the report from the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. The auditors visited 16 facilities around the country and found "obvious structural deficiencies and maintenance-related issues." Several of the facilities showed damage due to water leaks, mold, outdated heating and air conditioning systems, poor facility design, and general deterioration and disrepair. The auditors also noted line-of-sight issues from tower cabs at several airports that make it impossible for controllers to see the entire airfield. Condensation problems obscured the windows in several of the towers. The FAA needs to do a better job of planning for the long term rather than fixing problems as they arise, the report says. The FAA also needs to establish realistic funding requirements for maintaining existing sites until they can be replaced. The auditors visited 16 FAA buildings in all.

The FAA concurred with all of the report's recommendations and said it would take action to address the concerns raised. The FAA has full or partial responsibility for 420 staffed air traffic control facilities.