To Be Installed At Airports To Complement ASDE-X
The Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) awarded a contract this week to Sensis Corp. of Syracuse, NY
to install runway status lights at 22 major US airports. Runway
status lights are designed to improve runway safety at busy
airports by warning pilots when it is unsafe to cross or enter a
"These lights are designed with the pilot in mind," said Robert
A. Sturgell, the FAA's acting administrator. "It's a big step for
safety on the runway. We're expecting to see positive results right
from the start."
The initial award is a three-year contract valued at $131
million to install the lights. There are two one-year options to
install the lights at additional airports, for a total contract
value of $215 million. Sensis Corp. is responsible for developing
the software, testing and installing the lights.
When runway status light prototypes at Dallas-Fort Worth and San
Diego International airports proved effective in helping avoid
potential runway conflicts, the FAA decided to install the lights
at the same airports where the Airport Surface Detection Equipment
Model X (ASDE-X) systems are being installed, said Sturgell. The
runway status lights will use the ASDE-X surveillance data to
As part of the initial contract, runway status lights will be
deployed at Atlanta; Baltimore Washington International; Boston;
Charlotte, NC; Chicago O’Hare; Dallas-Fort Worth; Denver;
Detroit; Washington Dulles; Fort Lauderdale; Houston
Intercontinental; New York John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia; Las
Vegas; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Newark, NJ; Orlando, FL;
Philadelphia; Phoenix; San Diego; and Seattle airports.
Installing runway status lights is just one of the FAA's
initiatives to improve safety at US airports. The FAA also recently
reached agreements with four US airlines to fund in-cockpit runway
safety systems in exchange for critical operational data. The data
will help the FAA evaluate the safety impact of the technology and
is expected to accelerate key safety capabilities necessary for the
transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System.
The FAA earlier announced it will provide $600,000 each to
Skywest, Piedmont, US Airways and Southwest Airlines to invest in
surface moving maps that show the pilot where the aircraft is on
the runway for flights to or from 21 test bed airports. The safety
technology provides greater situational awareness for pilots to
help them avoid unsafe operations on the airport surface.