"Runway Safety Improvements at Boston Logan International Airport"
Michael G. Whitaker, Boston, MA
June 27, 2013

Runway Safety Press Conference


Thank you for coming out today to hear about the significant safety improvements that the FAA and Massport have made at Logan International Airport.

Until now, Runway 33L did not have a buffer zone at the end for extra safety, and instead it ended right at Boston Harbor. What we have done is to greatly improve safety by extending a pier out into the harbor and adding a larger runway safety area at the end of the runway, with a special bed of crushable concrete that stops aircraft. We call this bed an Engineered Material Arresting System, or EMAS.

This $63 million project is the result of a lot of hard work by many people – and it really is a good example of simple, very smart engineering. 

Massport has also invested $15 million for the FAA to upgrade the navigational aids for this runway which makes it safe for aircraft to land in all kinds of weather including snow conditions and strong crosswinds. A joint Massport-FAA team worked closely together to install, commission and chart the new system on schedule and under budget.

The new runway safety pier extends 470 feet into Boston Harbor and is 300 feet wide. In the very unlikely event that an aircraft were to overrun the runway, the bed of crushable concrete would stop the aircraft from going any further.  This concrete bed itself is 500 feet long and 170 feet wide and is designed to stop an aircraft as large as a Boeing 747 going about 80 miles per hour with no brakes. Once the plane hits this bed of concrete, it stops, resulting in little to no damage to the aircraft.

These arresting beds have been installed at airports across the country and have stopped eight aircraft from over-shooting the runway in the last 14 years. Those flights had a total of 235 passengers and crew, all of whom exited the aircraft safely and without injury because of these safety beds. They really are life-savers and we’re very proud of this improvement here at Logan, especially the ingenuity and teamwork it took to install it and get it done.

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