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FAA’s New Approach to Safety: Spend More on Luxury Items, Less on Controllers and Equipment - (10/25/2007)

CONTACT:     Alexandra Caldwell, 202-220-9813 

WASHINGTON – Just two months after a high-profile Congressional hearing exposed widespread health and safety problems at Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control facilities across the country, and in the midst of crippling and unsafe communications outages, the FAA responded not by improving its maintenance practices but instead by going on an end-of-fiscal year spending spree to outfit scores of facilities with new and expensive furniture, televisions and other high-end items that have no relationship whatsoever to the safety of the flying public. 

“This is the kind of reckless fiscal behavior that demands both federal and Congressional investigations but sadly has become an annual ritual of a bloated government bureaucracy, supposedly looking out for the safety of the flying public, instead feeding its gluttony at the taxpayer trough,” NATCA President Patrick Forrey said. “This FAA cannot properly maintain its equipment, install new equipment on time or on budget without creative re-baselining techniques and routinely has claimed it is running its operations ‘more like a business.’ Well, now we know exactly what that means: Keep your local furniture and electronics merchants’ businesses flourishing!” 

Below is a list of frivolous, unneeded luxury items purchased in recent days and weeks at selected FAA facilities nationwide: 

Asheville (NC) Tower

  • Furniture
  • Shredder
  • Sofa
  • Table
  • $5,445.30 total 

Atlanta Center

  • Leather furniture for multiple conference rooms
  • An extensive amount of sod
  • Office furniture for management offices 

Charleston (WV) Tower

  • Flat screen TV for break room
  • Secretary’s desk 

Charlotte Tower

  • 58" plasma TV - $2,500 replaces working overhead power point projector
  • $5,000 for freezer and refrigerator
  • 30 or more chairs at $395 apiece - $12,000 minimum total cost
  • $2,000 sofa
  • Furnishings for eight management/staff offices includes: Cost estimate $3,000 each  
  • Executive desks
  • Leather desk chairs
  • 6-8 tables in conference room
  • Operational manager’s console in TRACON with two computers
  • Executive-style conference table with glass top, at least 12' long
  • 13 high back leather chairs to go around big table
  • Two book cases
  • Three lobby chairs with tables
  • Administrative reception area
  • Three Mahogany-style credenzas
  • Two leather loveseats 
  • One leather side chair
  • Three end tables 

Cleveland Center

  • Golf cart
  • Inspirational posters
  • Couches
  • Coffee tables
  • End tables
  • Computer tables with chairs
  • Landscaping 

Columbia (SC) Tower

  • Furniture for conference room 

Dallas/Ft. Worth Tower

  • Furniture for chief’s office
  • Front lobby furniture
  • Furniture for supervisor’s offices 

Executive Airport (Sacramento, CA)

  • $28,000 phone system
  • Computers for Facility Level Manger and Air Traffic Manager

Fayetteville (NC) Tower

  • Moving-message board for "motivational messages" in hallway
  • Three flat-screen monitors for outside security cameras
  • Podium
  • Two air conditioning systems (to replace two that were five-years-old and were working perfectly)
  • Ceiling panels for tower
  • Consoles for tower 

Fort Lauderdale Tower

  • Five couches
  • 40-inch flat screen TV 

Fort Worth Center

  • Redecorated lobby, including an original oil painting valued at more than $1,300. View the painting, the lobby, and the plastic tarps needed to protect the vital electronic equipment from a leaking roof at these links: 





Greensboro (NC) Tower

  • Desks for chief and secretary 

Jacksonville (FL) Center

  • 60-inch LCD TV with surround sound for cafeteria
  • Eight 42-inch LCD screens to replace weather computers in each area
  • Chairs 

Kansas City Tower

  • $150,000 on office furniture
  • $42,000 for the supervisors’ offices alone 

Lexington (KY) Tower

  • Two big TVs
  • Several office chairs 

Minneapolis Center

  • Office furniture
  • Flat screens
  • Chairs
  • Landscaping 

Mobile (AL) Tower

  • Office furniture
  • Plasma TV
  • Flat screen computers 

Montgomery (AL) Tower

  • Furniture for manager’s offices
  • Furniture for QATS (Quality Assurance and Training Specialist) 

New York Center

  • Office chairs
  • Plasma monitors
  • Cash awards
  • Replacement of ceiling tiles 


  • 36” LCD TVs in offices of all top officials
  • Office furniture in every administrative office (including contractors)
  • Chairs in every administrative office 

Peoria (IL) Tower

  • Flat screen monitors in the TRACON on the IDS4 system
  • File cabinets
  • Chairs
  • Huge Copier
  • Bookcases
  • Conference table
  • Computer work stations 

Philadelphia Tower and TRACON

  • $1785 for catered party refreshments, food (shrimp platters, etc.) 

Rochester (NY) Tower

  • Furniture for supervisor’s offices including mahogany desk, book shelf and leather chairs 

Salt Lake City Tower

  • $3,500 leather sectional 

Seattle Center

  • $31,000 spent on bonuses, work stations and tables 

Syracuse (NY) Tower

  • Three leather chairs and a leather couch from Ashley Furniture
  • LG 37" LCD TV, complete with wall-mounting package 

Tampa Tower

  • Paint and carpet throughout the facility (excluding union office)
  • Office equipment and furniture excluding union office
  • Total: Over $50,000 spent 

Washington, DC Center

  • Flat screen TVs
  • Window tinting treatment

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