New technology to reduce runway incursion incidents in the USA - listed by the Federal Aviation Administration as among the most serious risks to air travellers - will be delayed by two years because of continued technical problems, says the FAA.

Northrop Grumman's Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) adds an automated warning system to its Airport Surface Detection Equipment 3 ground mapping radar. The AMASS provides tower controllers with a conflict alert in the event of runway incursions, but has suffered schedule delays because of software and human-factors problems. In 1993, the projected cost of providing AMASS at 34 US airports by 1996 was put at $60 million, but by late 1998 it rose to $90 million.

Last July, the FAA said all AMASS units would be functioning by this August, but John Mayrhofer, FAA Runway Safety Programme office director, says it will be September 2002 before all the units are operational.

Source: Flight International