FAA Plans to Hold Runway Safety Meetings at Airports Across the U.S.

Many of the nearly 90 fields involved are popular among GA pilots

The FAA is scheduling meetings to improve runway safety at towered airports [Credit: Shutterstock]

Amid numerous reports of runway incursions and other problems with aircraft separation at airports, the FAA has announced it will hold runway safety meetings at roughly 90 airports across the U.S. The list of airports includes many Class C and  D fields with extensive GA operations.

Known as Runway Safety Action Team (RSAT) meetings, the events are designed to bring together representatives from the FAA’s air traffic organization, Part 121 and 135 operators, pilots, airport vehicle drivers, and others at each airport to identify safety risks and develop mitigation strategies. The meetings are to take place through the end of September.

The meetings, to be conducted annually at airports with control towers, serve as forums for addressing airport-specific safety issues in the surface environment. Participants at each airport are expected to produce a Runway Safety Action Plan under which they agree to make specific efforts to improve surface safety, the FAA said.

“Sharing information is critical to improving safety,” said Tim Arel, chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization. “These meetings, along with other efforts, will help us achieve our goal of zero close calls.”

Major airports with runway safety meetings coming up soon include Ronald Reagan Washington National (KDCA), La Guardia (KLGA) in New York, Dallas-Fort Worth International (KDFW), Cleveland Hopkins International (KCLE), Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (KBWI), Reno-Tahoe International (KRNO) in Nevada, and Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International (KBHM) in Alabama.

The planned meetings are the latest of several FAA actions this year aimed at improving safety on and around runways, including the mitigation of potential runway incursions. In February the agency issued a Safety Call to Action after a number of reported airport incidents, and it held a Safety Summit in March. The FAA said the summit “resulted in a commitment from the FAA and aviation community to pursue a goal of zero serious close calls.”

The FAA also published a runway safety fact sheet as part of its overall runway safety program.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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