FAA says IT reduces airport runway hazards

Runway incursions at the nation's airports dropped 20 percent over a four-year period, due in part to technology, said an FAA report released today.

U.S. airports recorded 324 incursions last year, 15 fewer than in 2002.

Last year, 32 of the incidents were characterized as high risk, five fewer than in 2002 and a 50 percent drop since 2000. For the second consecutive year, none of the most serious incursions involved two large commercial jets.

'Pilot awareness programs and new technology continue to pay real safety dividends on the nation's runways,' said FAA administrator Marion Blakey.

To prevent runway accidents, FAA has delivered to 34 airports new technology called the Airport Movement Area Safety System, which warns air traffic controllers of potential runway accidents, and is deploying the new Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model X to another 25. ASDE-X creates up-to-the-minute maps of all airport operations that controllers oversee. It is especially helpful at night or in bad weather, when visibility is poor, FAA has said. (GCN story)

A runway incursion is when an aircraft, vehicle, person, or object on the ground creates a collision hazard or is too close to an aircraft taking off, intending to take off, landing or intending to land. The incursion rate per million takeoffs and landings was 5.2, unchanged from 2002.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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