Notes 24 Serious Incursions In FY2007, Out Of Over 61 Million
The Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) proclaimed this week it exceeded its own goal for reducing
the most serious runway incursions by 25 percent in fiscal year
2007. There were 24 serious runway incursions this past year out of
more than 61 million operations, or one incursion for every
2,545,000 operations, improving on the agency’s goal of no
more than one incursion for every two million surface
"The agency’s focus on better training, clearer signs and
new procedures has made our runways safer," said FAA’s Chief
Operating Officer for the Air Traffic Organization Hank Krakowski.
"However, there is still much more we can and will do to address
this very important safety issue."
Agency representatives say the FAA and industry leaders recently
identified short-term steps to reduce the risk of incursions, that
could be implemented within 60 days. The initiatives center on
improved procedures, increased training for airport and airline
personnel, and enhanced airports signs and markings.
The FAA also just completed a runway safety review of 20
airports -- a list based on runway incursion data and wrong-runway
issues. Based on the findings, airports have taken action to
improve signage and paint markings, as well put training programs
in place for airport personnel. Another short-term initiative is an
agreement with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association
(NATCA) to put in place a voluntary reporting system.
Despite numerous reported incursions this
year, the FAA notes progress has been made toward
reducing the most serious incidents (categorized as As and Bs),
particularly those involving commercial aircraft. The number of
serious runway incursions has dropped by about 55 percent since
fiscal year 2001, according to the agency.
As ANN reported, last month
the FAA adopted the definition for a runway incursion held by
the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) -- in which
any unauthorized runway encroachment, regardless of possible
conflict with another aircraft, is an incursion.
Though the definitions of what constituted a serious "A" or
"B"-level incursion remained unchanged, the new definition means
some incidents formerly classified as surface incidents will now be
classified as C or D category runway incursions, which are low-risk
incidents with ample time and/or distance to avoid a collision.
In the longer term, the FAA will be looking towards
technological solutions. These will include cockpit warning systems
and the deployment of runway status lights in conjunction with
ASDE-X, a safety tool that enables air traffic controllers to
detect potential runway conflicts by providing detailed coverage of
movement on runways and taxiways.
The agency is taking a close look at the performance of
lower-cost ground surveillance systems currently being tested and
evaluated. These systems will provide cost effective alternatives
to ASDE-X. While not as sophisticated as ASDE-X, they provide
incremental situational awareness for controllers.