Research Projects

Aging Air Traffic Control Tower Facilities

Assigned to David Byers
Last Edited by Mike Salamone

Many airports have air traffic control tower (ATCT) facilities that were constructed more than 50 years ago and despite renovation and rehabilitation efforts, they are reaching the end of their useful life. Some do not meet updated FAA siting and design criteria, and other state-of-art practices. NATCA conducted a survey in 10 years ago (2007) that indicated over two-thirds of the ATCTs were rated as having fair to poor or even dangerous working conditions.


While the FAA holds the responsibility to provide the facilities and equipment necessary for providing air traffic control services, funding for the construction of new facilities to replace the older towers has not kept pace with their needs. Renovation and other stop-gap measures are being used to keep aging towers functional but over time, this will


It has been common over the past 10-15 years for airport sponsors to construct a new ATCT as a condition for entering the Federal Contract Tower (FCT) program. In these cases, the airport sponsor use their AIP entitlement and local funds to construct a new ATCT. In some cases, state funding assistance is provided. More recently, airport sponsors are using their funds to construct replacement non-FCT ATCTs on behalf of the FAA. And while not a consistent practice, the FAA has sometimes leased the ATCT facility back from the airport sponsor primarily to recover the sponsor's financing costs, utilities. and other expenses.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

The purpose of this research is to provide an overview of the magnitude of aging ATCTs and to identify alternatives available for airport sponsors to address this as an emerging issue.


  1. Assemble background data including ATCT Facility Condition Reports,

{work in progress}



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Idea No. 45