For Immediate Release

April 4, 2014
Contact: Marcia Alexander-Adams
Phone: 202-267-3488


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is actively working to improve runway safety areas (RSAs) at commercial service airports by the end of 2015. The RSA is typically 500 feet wide and extends 1,000 feet beyond each end of the runway. It provides a graded area in the event that an aircraft overruns, undershoots, or veers off the side of the runway. Many airports were built before the current 1,000-foot RSA standard was adopted approximately 20 years ago. In some cases, it is not practicable to achieve the full standard RSA because there may be a lack of available land. There also may be obstacles such as bodies of water, highways, railroads, and populated areas or severe drop-off of terrain.

The FAA began conducting research in the 1990s to determine how to improve safety at airports where the full RSA cannot be obtained. Working in concert with the University of Dayton, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Engineered Arresting Systems Corporation (ESCO) of Logan Township, NJ, a new technology emerged to safely arrest overrunning aircraft. EMAS uses crushable concrete placed at the end of a runway to stop an aircraft that overruns the runway. The tires of the aircraft sink into the lightweight concrete and the aircraft is decelerated as it rolls through the material.

Benefits of the EMAS Technology

The EMAS technology improves safety benefits in cases where land is not available, or not possible to have the standard 1,000-foot overrun. A standard EMAS installation extends 600 feet from the end of the runway. An EMAS arrestor bed can be installed to help slow or stop an aircraft that overruns the runway, even if less than 600 feet of land is available.

Current FAA Initiatives

The Office of Airports prepared an RSA improvement plan for the runways at approximately 575 commercial airports in 2005. This plan allows the agency to track the progress and to direct federal funds for making all practicable improvements, including the use of EMAS technology. Of the approximately 1,000 RSAs at these airports, an estimated 65 percent have been improved to full standards, and an estimated 90 percent have been improved to the extent practicable, not including the relocation of FAA-owned navigational equipment.

Many of the EMAS beds installed prior to 2006 need periodic re-painting to maintain the integrity and functionality of the bed.  ESCO has developed improved plastic seal coating for EMAS beds.  This new coating should eliminate the need for the periodic re-painting.

EMAS Arrestments

To date, there have been nine incidents where EMAS has safely stopped nine overrunning aircraft with a total of 243 crew and passengers aboard those flights.

DateCrew and PassengersIncident
May 199930A Saab 340 commuter aircraft overran the runway at JFK
May 20033A Gemini Cargo MD-11 overran the runway at JFK
January 20053A Boeing 747 overran the runway at JFK
July 20065A Mystere Falcon 900 overran the runway at Greenville Downtown Airport in South Carolina
July 2008145An Airbus A320 overran the runway at ORD
January 201034A Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jet overran the runway at Yeager Airport in Charleston, WVA
October 201010A G-4 Gulfstream overran the runway at Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, NJ
November 20115A Cessna Citation II overran the runway at Key West International Airport in Key West, FL
October 20138A Cessna 680 Citation overran the runway at Palm Beach International in West Palm Beach, FL

EMAS Installations

Currently, EMAS is installed at 74 runway ends at 47 airports in the United States, with plans to install 14 EMAS systems at eight additional U.S. airports.

AirportLocation# of SystemsInstallation Date(s)
( ) Bed replaced
* Widened in 2008
** General aviation airport
*** retrofitted bed
+ Reliever airport
JFK InternationalJamaica, NY21996(1999)/2007
Minneapolis St. PaulMinneapolis, MN11999(2008)
Little RockLittle Rock, AR22000/2003
Rochester InternationalRochester, NY12001
BurbankBurbank, CA12002*
Baton Rouge MetropolitanBaton Rouge, LA12002
Greater BinghamtonBinghamton, NY22002 (2012)/2009***
Greenville DowntownGreenville, SC12003**/2010***
Barnstable MunicipalHyannis, MA12003
Roanoke RegionalRoanoke, VA12004
Fort Lauderdale InternationalFort Lauderdale, FL22004
Dutchess CountyPoughkeepsie, NY12004**
LaGuardiaFlushing, NY22005
Boston LoganBoston, MA22005/2006 (2012)
Laredo InternationalLaredo, TX12006/2012***
San Diego InternationalSan Diego, CA12006
TeterboroTeterboro, NJ32006+/2011/2013
Chicago MidwayChicago, IL42006/2007
Merle K (Mudhole) SmithCordova, AK12007
Charleston YeagerCharleston, WV12007
ManchesterManchester, NH12007
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Intl.Wilkes-Barre, PA22008
San Luis ObispoSan Luis Obispo, CA22008
Chicago-O'HareChicago, IL22008
Newark Liberty InternationalNewark, NJ12008
Charlotte Douglas InternationalCharlotte, NC12008
St. Paul DowntownSt. Paul, MN22008+
Worcester RegionalWorcester, MA22008/2009**
Reading, RegionalReading, PA12009**
Kansas City DowntownKansas City, MO22009+/2010
Smith ReynoldsWinston-Salem, NC12010
New Castle CountyWilmington, DE12010
Key West InternationalKey West, FL12010
Arcata-EurekaArcata, CA12010
Telluride RegionalTelluride, CO22010
Palm BeachPalm Beach, FL12011
RepublicFarmingdale, NY22011/2013
Martin CountyStuart, FL22011
LafayetteLafayette, LA22011/2013
Cleveland HopkinsCleveland, OH22011
 London, CT  
Augusta StateAugusta, ME22011
Elmira-CorningElmira, NY12012
Trenton-MercerTrenton, NJ42012/2013
New BernNew Bern, NC12012
MemphisMemphis, TN12013
Burke LakefrontCleveland, OH12013

Additional projects currently under contract

AirportLocation# of SystemsExpected Installation Date
NewarkNewark, NJ1fall 2014
San FranciscoSan Francisco, CA4summer 2014
Fort LauderdaleFort Lauderdale, FL2fall 2014 or spring 2015
T.F. GreenProvidence, RI1summer 2015
Reagan NationalWashington, DC31 in fall 2014 and in 2 2015
AddisonAddison, TX  1summer 2014
Chicago ExecutiveWheeling, IL             1fall 2014
Monterey RegionalMonterey,CA         1spring 2015