GA Groups Join To Lobby For New Orleans Tower


The control tower at New Orleans Lakefront Airport was closed down byHurricane Katrina in 2005, and is still not back in operation. OnMonday, the National Business Aviation Association, AOPA, and theNational Air Traffic Controllers Association joined together to blastthe FAA for “dragging its feet,” and called for progress. The toweris “essential to safety and the economic recovery of New Orleans,”the groups said in a joint news release. The field is growing busier, and anumber of unsafe incidents have been reported, such as aircraft onthe runway passing each other at high speed in opposite directionsand pilots having to go around to prevent collisions on the runway.”The FAA can and must restore an operational control tower atLakefront before an incident becomes an accident,” said NATCAspokesman Darrell Meachum. NBAA President Ed Bolen said hisgroup “is enormously supportive of efforts to revitalize and enhanceLakefront Airport.” AOPA’s Andy Cebula said that Lakefront used to bea vibrant GA community, with two flight schools and a lot of traffic.”Now, in addition to the tower, Lakefront’s instrument landing systemremains out of service,” he said. “AOPA wants to see services thatenhance safety for pilots who use Lakefront returned to pre-Katrinalevels.” The FAA initially had said it would provide a temporarymobile tower for the airport, but then said it would reopen thepermanent tower instead. However, the FAA has not even begunsubstantive work on the tower, according to NATCA.