For Immediate Release

May 23, 2000
Contact: Arlene Salac, Jim Peters
Phone: (718) 553-3015

Springfield Gardens – The Federal Aviation Administration today will hold a regional summit at John F. Kennedy International Airport on developing local and regional measures to enhance runway safety at airports within FAA’s Eastern Region.

The runway safety program is among the top safety initiatives of FAA Administrator Jane F. Garvey. Today’s meeting, sponsored by FAA’s Eastern Region, is one in a series of regional workshops that are being held around the country. The daylong program brings together airlines, airports, industry, pilot organizations and others to examine runway incidents and develop plans to reduce incidents at airports in the region.

The results of the regional programs, such as the one being held at the Holiday Inn at JFK, will be shared at a national summit that is scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C. next month. In addition to examining regional action plans, national summit participants will review current efforts in human factors and new technologies to see how they can be used to mitigate runway incidents.

"This initiative is an important step in improving runway safety at U.S. airports," said FAA Eastern Region Administrator Arlene B. Feldman. "The measures developed at regional forums will play a pivotal role in contributing significantly to that safety effort.”

FAA defines a runway incursion as any occurrence at an airport involving an aircraft, vehicle, person or object on the ground that creates a collision hazard or results in a loss of separation with an aircraft taking off, intending to take off, landing or intending to land. A "loss of separation” refers to air traffic control (ATC) minimum distances between aircraft. An incident is a lesser event that involves a violation of regulations but with no collision hazard or loss of separation.

Runway incursions can be classified into any one of three categories: deviations (by pilots), operational errors (by air traffic controllers) and vehicle/pedestrian deviations. Last year, as many as 600,000 pilots made approximately 68 million takeoffs and landings safely. At the same time, runway incursions decreased nationally for the first time in six years.

In addition to holding regional workshops, the FAA has been working with aviation groups, such as the Air Safety Foundation of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, to further reduce incursions through additional education and training efforts. These efforts are aimed at pilots, controllers and vehicle operators.

Locally, FAA has worked with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in educating airport personnel about vehicle/pedestrian deviation prevention at the three area airports managed by the Port Authority: LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark.

Opening remarks for today’s workshop is scheduled for 9 a.m.