About Runway Safety

On November 1, 2002, the FAA established the Runway Safety Program under FAA Order 7050.1; placing overall responsibility for the program under the Office of Runway Safety. The goal of the program is to improve runway safety in the U.S. by decreasing the number and severity of surface incidents and runway incursions.  This is accomplished through collaboration with FAA’s safety partners, including commercial and general aviation pilots, air traffic controllers, airport managers, air carriers, fixed based operators, and other aviation industry groups.

Tracking Runway Safety.  The FAA and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) define a runway incursion as:

Any occurrence at an aerodrome involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle, or person on the protected area of a surface designated for the landing and take-off of aircraft.

The FAA tracks the frequency and severity of runway incursions to determine the status of the system, while looking for specific cause and effect relationships.  By analyzing and reviewing runway incursions and other surface incidents, the FAA gains a better understanding of the factors contributing such occurrences. The FAA also evaluates the effectiveness of strategies used to improve runway safety. By collecting data, we can prevent potentially serious runway incursions and accidents on the runway.

Major Initiatives.  The FAA is exploring new ways of mining and interpreting safety data with the focus on improving airport safety. On August 15, 2007, the FAA Call to Action for Runway Safety laid out an ambitious plan to focus on changes in cockpit procedures, airport signage and markings, as well as air traffic procedures and technology. A top-to-bottom review of 20 first-tier airports provided valuable data that led to many improvements and a dramatic reduction in serious incursions. Nationwide, serious runway incursions declined 52 percent in fiscal year 2009 compared to FY2008.

The Office of Runway Safety is pursuing both short term initiatives that can have immediate impact, and long term technology solutions. These initiatives include: synthesis of radar and audio data from selected actual incidents incorporated into a training aid for pilots, controllers and airport personnel; creation of video programs to heighten awareness of situations that lead to incursions; as well as attendance and assistance at flight and air traffic control training sessions to bring focus to prevention of runway incursions; implementation of runway status lights; evaluation of low cost ground surveillance systems; and research on the effectiveness of electronic flight bags and moving map displays. Cooperative efforts to identify root causes of runway incursions and develop plans to eliminate them or minimize their impact include formation of the Runway Safety Council as well as numerous teams at local and regional levels.

To Contact the national Office of Runway Safety please email: runwaysafety@faa.gov

Telephone: 202-385-4800

Or Mail to:
Federal Aviation Administration
Office of Runway Safety
490 L'Enfant Plaza, Suite 7225
Washington, DC 20024

For Regional contact information please visit: Runway Safety Regions


Air Traffic Controllers Association (ATCA)


Air Transport Association (ATA)

National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)

Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA)

National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI)

Airline Pilots Association (ALPA)

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)

Airports Council International (ACI)

Ninety-Nines (99's)

American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE/IAAE)

Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA)

Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)

Runway Incursion Forum(NTSB): Promoting Runway Safety
- Presentations.
Date and Location:
March 27, 2007
Arlington, Virginia

Flight Safety Foundation (FSF)


International Air Transport Association (IATA)


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