Concerned residents questioning city’s airport maintenance

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Elise Anzaldua

The Tuscaloosa National Airport has come under scrutiny regarding a potential lack of Federal Aviation Administration-required preventative maintenance and the lack of a dedicated airport maintenance crew, but the airport’s director says it remains in good standing with the agency.

These complaints, posted on the public Facebook page Sunshine on City Hall, suggest there’s a need for at least one full-time electrician working at the airport.

While the airport has undergone significant upgrades over the past few years, including an expanded runway, the complaints suggest required maintenance at the airport is going uncompleted because there are no dedicated airport maintenance workers. Instead, city maintenance employees are responsible for all city-owned property including the airport.

But Airport Director Jeff Powell said while there are some outstanding work orders at the facility, the airport is in good standing with the FAA.

“We have the appropriate pavement, the appropriate lighting, the appropriate air traffic controllers,” Powell said. “We’re always looking for ways to improve, as anybody should, but as of today we are in good standing with our department.”

If you’ve been to TCL, you well know it’s not a gleaming beacon of modernity. That’s something the city is working toward changing, but their Airport Master Plan‘s terminal upgrade is still a ways off.

The airport completed major runway improvements in August as part of the master plan.

“A standard of adequate maintenance is a relative term,” Powell said. “We’re audited once a year by the FAA where they inspect our airfield to let us know we’re in tolerance of having a good program or not. As of today, we have no discrepancies as given to any airport that goes through this audit.”

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