For Immediate Release

October 29, 2008
Contact: Paul Takemoto or Tammy Jones
Phone: (202) 267-3883

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today convened the Runway Safety Council, a joint government-industry body that will take a deeper, systemic approach to improving runway safety.

The goal of the council is to fundamentally change the existing safety culture and move toward a proactive management strategy that involves different segments of the aviation industry.

The council will play a lead role in resolving critical surface safety issues. The participating entities will dedicate subject matter experts and analysts to a team that will examine the root causes of runway incursions. The Root Cause Analysis Team will investigate incidents from a systems perspective, getting input from airports, operators and air traffic.

One focus will be on how human factors contribute to runway incursions and what can be done to reduce human errors. The Root Cause Analysis Team will analyze and attempt to resolve issues in a positive, non-punitive environment. The team will recommend to the council ways to resolve or mitigate system risks. If the council supports the recommendations, it will work with different parts of the FAA to address what needs to be done, and track progress toward a solution of the problem.

A coordinated, systemic approach is necessary because serious runway incursions are seldom caused by a single factor. The current culture separates responsibility for incursions into different categories: operational errors by controllers, pilot deviations or vehicle or pedestrian deviations. Investigations into those incidents are conducted by different parts of the agency, depending on which category is responsible.

The council includes officials from the FAA, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, the Air Line Pilots Association, the Air Transport Association, the American Association of Airport Executives, the Airports Council International, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the National Association of Flight Instructors, the National Business Aviation Association and the Air Taxi Association.

To see all the actions taken by the FAA and the airline industry to reduce runway incursions, see the Runway Safety fact sheet.