In attempt to stem its runway
incursion problem, Los Angeles World Airports, operator of Los Angeles International
will pay $6 million for a prevention system that controls embedded red lights
at runway ends and runway/taxiway intersections that signal pilots to stop
before taking off or entering an occupied runway.
“LAX has had the most runway
incursions of any airport in the country since 2001,” says FAA acting
administrator Bobby Sturgell.
“There were eight of them last year, just as there were in ’06 and ’05.”
For its part, the FAA will install,
test, evaluate and maintain the Runway Status Light (RWSL) system along the
airport’s twin sets of parallel runways, including high-speed exit taxiways, a
first for RWSL.
Prototype RWSL systems, which are
automatically controlled by two types of radar-based ground surveillance
systems, are operating at Dallas Forth Worth International Airport and at San
Diego International Airport.
The US DOT’s
Office of Inspector General in January issued a report stating that during the
29 months after the prototype RWSL system was installed on a runway at DFW in
2005, incursions decreased by 70% from 10 to three, compared to the previous 29
Sturgell during a press conference in Los Angeles yesterday
elaborated on a recent success story of at DFW. “A few weeks ago, a commercial
flight was taxiing into position, about to take off. At that very moment,
another plane was about to cross the runway that it was on,” he explains.
“But instead of taking off, the
first aircraft stayed right where it was, thanks to the red runway status
lights – the same lights that we’ll be installing at the Los Angeles airport,” Sturgell notes.
Though RWSL will help at Los Angeles
Sturgell said the “first
line” of defence for runway incursions at the airport will be to change the
layout of the runways on the north side of the airport. The airport operator is
currently redeveloping the southern portion of the airport, putting more space
between the parallel runways and adding a taxiway in the middle.
The airport had intended to do the
same with the closely-spaced parallel runways on the north side of the airport,
but lawsuits have forced operator Los Angeles World Airports to reconsider the
Contracts have been awarded for the
RWSL system at Los Angeles
and construction will start this summer, says Sturgell, with operational testing set to begin in