FAA Provides More Than $100 Million to Prevent Runway Collisions, Which have Increased
By Yehudit Garmaise
After a series of passenger planes that were taxiing on runways recently experienced several near collisions, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is giving more than $100 million of federal funds to 12 airports to prevent future “close calls.”
Last year, at least 1,633 “runway incursions,” which are accidents involving airplanes, vehicles, and people who are “incorrectly on protected areas designated for take-offs and landings” were reported at U.S. airports, according to the FAA.
In 2013, the number of reported runway incursions was 1,397, while in 2002, 987 incursions were reported, according to abc7news.
While the number of total incursions has been on the rise, the FAA said that the number of incursions considered “serious” has been decreasing.
The FAA’s funds will help airports to reconfigure confusing taxiways, install better lighting, and create other safety measures that add order and clarity as airplanes depart and land on airfields.
The largest FAA grant to create more safety at runways is the $33.1 million that will go to Tucson International Airport in Arizona, which will use the funds to construct a new taxiway and to reconstruct a runway that presently runs too close to a parallel runway.
Las Vegas' Harry Reid International Airport will receive $13.4 million to reconfigure four taxiways, shift two runways, and install runway status lights that alert pilots and others whether they can safely enter.
Miami International Airport (MIA), which is known among pilots as having “confusing” airfields, will receive $6 million to shift one taxiway and fix an intersection between two other taxiways.
"We are experiencing the safest period in aviation history, but we cannot take this for granted," says FAA's acting administrator Billy Nolen earlier this year after launching a safety review team who is examining the American aerospace system's structure, culture, systems, and safety efforts.
"Recent events remind us that we must not become complacent,” says Nolan. “Now is the time to stare into the data and ask hard questions.”