State waits for response on Ketchikan airport inspection

Posted: Wednesday, February 05, 2003

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- A November inspection of the Ketchikan International Airport revealed deficiencies that threaten its operation, according to a letter from state to borough officials.

As of Monday, the borough had not responded to concerns sent by Bob Doll, Department of Transportation Southeast region director to borough manager Roy Eckert in November.

The letter lists deficiencies in maintenance, training, documentation, staffing, organization and safety.

Eckert told the Ketchikan Daily News that the borough is going over the state's ''supposed concerns.'' He said it is difficult to respond because the state did not provide the inspector's report, and the inspector, Mike Binkie, did not directly contact the borough.

''We're not taking it lightly, but we're also taking it with a grain of salt,'' he said.

In a Jan. 10 follow-up letter, Doll said the concerns are ongoing and the borough needs to address deficiencies that threaten airport compliance with federal regulations.

The borough leases the airport from the state and the lease agreement requires that the airport comply with FAA regulations, Doll said. He was not sure what steps the state would take if the borough does not address the concerns.

Doll noted problems including:

-- Unsatisfactory runway and taxiway markings.

-- Inadequate maintenance of snow removal equipment.

-- Employees who do not use standard aviation communication.

-- Employees assigned to perform inspections who have not been trained and are unaware of their assignments.

-- No training records.

-- An unavailability of essential, up-to-date documents, such as a current copy of the Airport Certification Manual.

-- Inefficient use of employees, especially in safety and security-related duties.

-- Reduction in employee numbers ''to a level that jeopardizes the airport's ability to comply with FAA'' regulations.

The inspector, Binkie, recommended an audit of the airport's budget.

''There needs to be a complete reorganization of staff with an accompanying clear delegation of duties,'' he said.

Doll proposed that he assign Binkie to the Ketchikan airport three days each month for six months to help the airport improve its operations.

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