Centerlines - January 2008 - (Page 32)

ENHANCING RUNWAY SAFETY FAA’s Call to Action, independent airport accomplishments aim to lower incursion rates B Y NI CO L E NE L S O N SAFET Y AND SECURIT Y T he nation’s airport runways are safer than ever, but the progress has not been enough. “The agency’s focus on better training, clearer signs and new procedures has made our runways safer,” said Hank Krakowski, Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) chief operating officer for the Air Traffic Organization. “However, there is still much more we can and will do to address this very important safety issue.” In fiscal year 2007, the FAA reported 24 serious runway incursions out of more than 61 million operations. Averaging one incursion for every 2.5 million operations, this statistic was a 25 percent improvement over the agency’s goal to have no more than one incursion for every 2 million surface movements. Reducing the risk of runway incursions is one of the FAA’s top priorities as runway mishaps can prove to be catastrophic. A case in point is the Aug. 27, 2006, crash of Comair Flight 5191 in a field just beyond Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport. The Atlanta-bound CRJ-200 regional jet was assigned the airport’s 7,003-foot Runway 22 for takeoff, but instead used unlit Runway 26. With a length of only 3,500 feet, Runway 26 was too short for a safe takeoff, causing the aircraft to overrun the end of the runway before it could become airborne. The fatal accident killed 49 people before dawn to become the country’s worst domestic airplane accident in nearly six years. “The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA have confirmed that all of the pavement markings and signage was as it was supposed to be on the day of the accident,” said Michael Gobb, executive director of Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board. “But what we continue to do, as we have done in the past, is work with the FAA and the industry to continually improve. While an airport can be in compliance one day, that doesn’t mean that the industry or the regulators to see what areas are available for improvement.” Short-Term Actions Safety reviews of wrong runway event risk topped the list of items slated in a meeting convened by then FAA Administrator Marion Blakey on Aug. 15. As a result of the gathering of more than 40 aviation leaders from airports, airlines, aerospace manufacturers, and air traffic control and pilot unions, the FAA agreed to quickly implement a five-point, short-term plan to improve runway safety at U.S. airports. One week later, Blakey followed up with a letter to 20 airports deemed to have risky airfield operations. The airports ranged in size from Atlanta’s DeKalb Peachtree Airport to HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International Airport. The correspondence asked the airports to convene a meeting within 60 days to review procedures, airport markings and other risk areas that could be miti- Runway guard lights and red paint zone at Boston Logan. 32 CENTERLINES | JANUARY 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Centerlines - January 2008

President’s Message
Canadian Airports
Associates’ Corner
Policy Center
Regulatory Front
On the Hill and On the Stump
One on One: Dave Barger
Revenue: The Concessions Awards
Environment: O’Hare Expansion
Passenger Focus: Houston Friendly
Safety and Security: After Comair, What Next?
Air Service Recruiting: Charleston’s Acquisition of AirTran
On Management: Performance Benchmarking at DFW
Now Underway
Grand Opening
Conference Previews and Reviews
New Members
Index of Advertisers/
Box Scores

Centerlines - January 2008