The United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it will grant more than $121 million to a number of US airports in a bid to improve safety.
The funding will be used to “reconfigure taxiways that may cause confusion, install new lighting systems, and provide more flexibility on the airfield,” the FAA stated in an announcement on August 23, 2023.
“The FAA is serious about ending runway incursions and we are putting substantial resources behind our efforts,” Shannetta Griffin, the Associate Administrator for Airports at the FAA, said. “In some cases, the best way to address safety risks is modifying or reconfiguring existing airfields – these grants directly address those situations.”
Together with the announcement, the FAA said it will fund the simplification of the airfield layout at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), the site of two near-miss incidents in 2023, as well as simplifying the layout at Alaska’s Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC).
The FAA granted $44.9 million and $39.8 million to those projects, respectively.
Six other airports also received funds to improve taxiways.
Furthermore, the FAA highlighted that it has introduced several safety runway technologies, including Runway Status Lights and Airports Surface Detection Equipment, Model X (ASDE-X). The latter uses radar, multilateration, and satellite technology that allows air traffic controllers to track the movement of aircraft and other vehicles on the ground.
US airports have also started using ASDE-X Taxiway Arrival Prediction, which predicts when flight crews line up to land on a taxiway, providing a visual and audio cue to air traffic controllers.
This is the third statement and/or press release related to airport safety concerns to come from the FAA in the last three days. The announcements follow a The New York Times report, which claimed that incidents are continuing to take place on a more frequent basis in the US.
In its first response, the FAA said that runway incursions have dropped from their peak in 2017 and 2018, with the US aviation system safely improving the rate of runway incursions per one million takeoffs and landings.