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NATCA Works with the FAA to Ensure Safety at Miami International Airport's New Facility - (10/5/2000)

WASHINGTON – Another victory in the continuing effort by the Federal Aviation Administration and its air traffic controllers to provide the safest possible conditions for air travelers was earned this week with news that the FAA has agreed to rebuild the top sections of the air traffic control tower at Miami International Airport.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association applauds this move as an important step in the process to effectively merge both safety and expansion interests at MIA, which is home to the FAA’s 10th-busiest air traffic control tower and the seventh-busiest radar approach control facility.

The new, 320-foot tower’s glass-enclosed cab room will be rebuilt in order to remove four, 14-by-14-inch thick columns, which were originally part of the design to withstand hurricane-force winds. The FAA will strengthen the roof, reinforce the large windows of the cab with thicker supports, known as mullions and rearrange workstations and equipment in the tower interior.

These improvements, which are expected to allow the new tower to be opened by July 2002, will enable controllers to have an unobstructed view of runways, taxiways and approach paths and still meet the building code requirements to withstand hurricane-force winds.

“There were serious safety concerns with the new tower as originally designed,” said Andrew Cantwell, NATCA’s facility representative at MIA. “Critical sight lines were obstructed, which would have reduced the margin of safety at MIA. We believe this agreement, reached collaboratively with the FAA, is a victory for the millions of air travelers who use MIA and will help preserve the excellent safety record which we currently enjoy."

NATCA salutes the FAA for its efforts to arrive at the correct solution in this issue and is proud to work together to make the project a success. Safety, above all, is our business.


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