© 2017 the American Physiological Society. Maintenance of normal epithelial ion and water transport in the lungs includes providing a thin layer of surface liquid that coats the conducting airways. This airway surface liquid is critical for normal lung function in a number of ways but, perhaps most importantly, is required for normal mucociliary clearance and bacterial removal. Preservation of the appropriate level of hydration, pH, and viscosity for the airway surface liquid requires the proper regulation and function of a battery of different types of ion channels and transporters. Here we discuss how alterations in ion channel/transporter function often lead to lung pathologies.