For Immediate Release

February 26, 2008
Contact: Paul Takemoto or Ian Gregor
Phone: (202) 267-3883 or (310) 725-3580

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Technology that warns pilots about potential runway safety hazards will be installed at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) under a partnership between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the City of Los Angeles.

The system, called Runway Status Lights, uses a series of red lights embedded in the pavement to warn pilots if it is unsafe to cross over or enter a runway. Under an agreement between the FAA and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), pilots will begin testing Runway Status Lights at LAX — the nation’s fourth busiest airport — early next year. LAWA is funding the system, which costs an estimated $6 million. The FAA will install, test, evaluate and maintain the system.

“This is another valuable tool we’re using to reduce the risk of runway incursions,” said FAA Acting Administrator Robert A. Sturgell. “These lights give pilots and their passengers another layer of safety against potential runway accidents.”

Pilots approaching a runway equipped with Runway Status Lights will see red lights illuminated if the airport’s ground surveillance radar detects traffic on or approaching that runway. Clearance to cross or enter a runway must be given by air traffic control. Pilots must verify clearance before proceeding even after the warning lights are no longer illuminated. Runway Status Lights will also be used by vehicle operators.

The system is in place at Dallas/Fort Worth and San Diego and has improved runway safety without reducing capacity or increasing controller workload.