The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded more than $100 million to 12 airports across the country to reduce runway incursions.
Projects will reconfigure taxiways that may cause confusion, install airfield lighting or construct new taxiways to provide more flexibility on the airfield.
The runway incursion problem
Incidents of airport runway incursions in the USA has been increasing in recent years. This is likely due to a number of factors, including:
- The increasing number of flights at airports.
- The increasing complexity of airport operations.
- The fatigue of airport personnel.
Recent airport runway incursion incidents have included:
February 2023: A Southwest Airlines flight was forced to abort its takeoff at Chicago Midway International Airport after a ground crew vehicle crossed the runway.
March 2023: A United Airlines flight was landing at Newark Liberty International Airport when it came within 100 feet of colliding with a ground crew vehicle.
April 2023: A Delta Air Lines flight was landing at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport when it came within 50 feet of colliding with a ground crew vehicle.
“Some airfields have complex layouts that can create confusion for pilots and other airport users,” said FAA Associate Administrator Shannetta R. Griffin, P.E.
“This funding will reconfigure complex taxiway and runway intersections to help prevent incursions and enhance the safety of the National Airspace System,”
The agency’s Runway Incursion Mitigation Program was developed to identify airports that have risk factors that might contribute to runway incursions.
Those factors include complexity and airfield layout. As part of the RIM program, the FAA, airports and industry work together to find solutions and share best practices.
Airport funding allocations
Funding is going to key projects, including:
Miami International Airport: $6 million to shift one taxiway (L1) and fix the intersection of two other taxiways (M & Q).
Harry Reid International Airport: $13.4 million to reconfigure four taxiways (U, E, F and H) to meet safety standards, shift two runways (8L/26R and 1L/19R) and install runway status and guard lights. Runway status lights alert pilots and others if it is not safe to enter the runway.
San Diego International Airport: $24 million to construct a new taxiway (A), eliminating the need for aircraft to back-taxi on the runway.
Tucson International Airport: $33.1 million to construct a taxiway (C) and shift and rebuild runway (11R/29L) to be further away from a parallel runway.
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport: $10.8 million to build a taxiway (V) to provide more direct access to aircraft hangars.
Pensacola International Airport: $1.17 million to install runway guard lights for Runways 8/26 and 17/35 to address safety issues identified by a Runway Safety Action Team.
Prescott International Airport in Prescott, Ariz.: $7.4 million to shift a taxiway (C) 75 feet east.
Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield, Ill.: $7.4 million to remove portions of Runway 18 and Runway 36 and extend a taxiway (G) to maintain access to the existing north apron.
Bellingham International Airport in Bellingham, Wash.: $1.3 million to reconfigure a connecting taxiway (F) from its current airfield location to a new midfield connector.
Republic Airport in East Farmingdale, N.Y.: $12.4 million to reconstruct a taxiway (A), add a taxiway edge lighting system and replace existing airfield guidance signs.
Waverly Municipal Airport in Waverly, Iowa: $223,000 to construct a parallel taxiway from the Runway 11 turnaround to the apron, eliminating the need for aircraft to back-taxi on the runway.
Charles B Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City, Kan.: $844,000 for two parallel taxiways (L and D) to Runway 3 to eliminate the need for aircraft to back-taxi on the runway.