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FAA: Runway incidents down 50%

The number of runway incidents that pose a danger of planes colliding dropped by half over the last 12 months, federal transportation officials said Friday.

There were six incidents during the federal budget year ending Sept. 30 in which a plane on the wrong runway or crossing a runway risked colliding with another plane, the Federal Aviation Administration said. There were 12 such incidents in the 2009 budget year.

That's a dramatic drop from 67 incidents in 2000.

Reducing such incidents has long been a top safety priority for the FAA.

Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt credited the decline to the installation of new technology at airports, including runway lights that change color to warn pilots whether or not it's OK to enter a runway, expanded requirements for improved signage and markings at airports, and improved pilot training on runway conflict scenarios.

The FAA and pilot organizations have also conducted education efforts aimed at private pilots.

The deadliest aviation accident in history, in which 583 people were killed, was a 1977 runway collision between two airliners at Tenerife (ten-uh-REEF'), one of the Canary Islands.

"The goal we are working towards is zero runway incursions," Babbitt said in a statement. "I'm confident that the right combination of education and technology will help us get there."

He announced the decline in runway incidents at a news conference at Boston's Logan International Airport, where the FAA is installing a runway lighting system.
-- Associated Press

From the Post's archives:

Air traffic controller error led to near-collision

Mistakes rise for Washington region's air traffic controllers

FAA downgrades safety violation over D.C.

Near-collisions on rise in Washington area's skies

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  Airlines, Airports, Aviation  
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