For Immediate Release

January 1, 2004
Contact: Rebecca Trexler
Phone: (202) 267-3441

The Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) is a warning system deployed by the FAA to increase runway safety. AMASS works by collecting and analyzing data from airport radars and giving air traffic controllers automatic visual and audio alerts when it detects potential collisions on airport runways and taxiways.

To date, four accidents have been prevented by AMASS since it became operational in 2001. The first was at San Francisco International Airport in October 2001 when AMASS detected a possible collision between an arriving commuter turboprop and a departing business jet. The second occurred in November 2001 at Boston’s Logan International Airport with an arriving Airbus A300 and a taxiing business jet. The third was in Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in September 2002 with an arriving B737 heading toward a closed runway. The fourth was at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in July 2003 with a regional jet arriving at a runway where a truck was crossing. In addition to these saves, the FAA Office of Runway Safety’s data shows a 60-percent reduction in the most severe runway incursions at airports with AMASS.

AMASS is a software and hardware enhancement to the Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model 3 (ASDE-3) radar. The system works by processing data from the ASDE-3, the airport surveillance radar, and the terminal automation system, and comparing the position, velocity and acceleration of airborne arrival aircraft with ground-based aircraft and vehicles to determine potential conflicts. AMASS can track up to 256 surface and airborne targets and produce a display with tracked target icons that is automatically updated every second. When AMASS detects situations that could result in collisions, it warns air traffic controllers with audio and visual alerts.

The AMASS deployment was completed in December 2003 with the last system commissioned at George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport. The first AMASS was commissioned in San Francisco in June 2001, and there are now 37 systems at 34 of the nation’s busiest airports, along with three others used for support and training at FAA facilities. Northrop Grumman-Norden Systems and Dimensions International were the two prime contractors that manufactured and deployed the system for the FAA at a total cost of about $139 million.


  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport (2 systems)
  • Salt Lake City International Airport
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport
  • Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
  • Boston’s Logan International Airport
  • Miami International Airport
  • Newark Liberty International Airport
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • Portland International Airport
  • Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
  • Louisville International Airport – Standiford Field
  • Philadelphia International Airport
  • Memphis International Airport
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
  • McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Kansas City International Airport
  • Baltimore/Washington International Airport
  • LaGuardia Airport, New York
  • San Diego International Airport
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (2 systems)
  • Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland
  • Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
  • Washington Dulles International Airport
  • Denver International Airport (2 systems)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
  • George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport