Wed, Apr 04, 2007
Goal To Reduce Runway Incursions
LAX's southernmost runway has finally been reopened, after eight
long months of construction.
Runway 25-Left/7-Right is one of two parallel runways on the
south side of the airport. It's been closed since July and was
rebuilt 55 feet away from its sibling to create a center aisle
between the two.
The goal of the construction is improving safety and was part of
a $333 million renovation project intended to reduce close calls
during aircraft movement. The world's fifth-busiest passenger
airport has historically scored among the highest in the nation in
The airport has an unusual layout with two sets of parallel
runways with the terminal in between. This requires pilots landing
on an outer runway to cross an inner runway on a series of
taxiways, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Airplanes cross active runways more than 900 times on any given
day and the new center aisle will give airplanes a place to pause
before crossing to the terminals.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the project also
allows LAX to "be better able to efficiently handle the next
generation of aircraft, such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787
Dreamliner, that are coming into service in the near future."
Despite runway compromises, an Airbus A380 managed to land safely at LAX
for the first time on March 19. The double-decked aircraft is 239
feet long and boasts a wingspan of more than 261 feet.
Officials attribute months of joint planning by the FAA and LAX
and "good weather" in helping avoid major delays during the
shutdown. Of flights from July through March, less than 1 percent
experienced delays of 15 minutes of longer.
"I'll bet if you spoke with the average passenger flying through
here, they wouldn't have known anything was different," said Marv
Shappi, operations manager at the airport tower.
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