FAA Says Fewer Chances For Collisions
Runways at the nation’s airports are getting safer for the
second year in a row. Runway incursions dropped 20 percent over a
four-year period, according to an FAA report released today. US
airports recorded 324 incursions last year, of which just 32 were
characterized as high risk. Those serious incidents have dropped 50
percent since 2000. For the second consecutive year, none of the
most serious incursions involved two large commercial jets.
"The numbers tell the story. American runways are the safest the
world has to offer," said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. "Pilot
awareness programs and new technology continue to pay real safety
dividends on the nation’s runways."
The FAA continues leading an industry-wide effort to improve
runway safety through increased education, training and awareness,
along with new technology and improved airport runway markings and
lighting. To prevent runway accidents, the FAA has delivered new
technology called the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS)
to 34 airports, and is deploying the new Airport Surface Detection
Equipment Model X (ASDE-X) to another 25 airports.
By definition, 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 324 incursions last year were 15 less than in 2002. Under
the FAA’s method of measuring incursions by severity
categories from A to D, the higher-risk (A and B) incursions
dropped to 32 last year, five less than in 2002. The incursion rate
per million takeoffs and landings was 5.2, unchanged from 2002.
Reducing runway incursions is one critical safety objective of
the FAA’s strategic "Flight Plan" through 2008. One of the
"Flight Plan’s" performance targets is to reduce the number
of category A and B runway incursions by a minimum of 48 percent,
with no more than an average of 27 serious incursions per year by
fiscal year 2008.