May 23, 2023 - Economy

Runway incursions trend downward after recent spate of near-disasters

Illustration of a pattern of airplanes.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The rate of serious runway incursions is trending downward, per Federal Aviation Administration data out Tuesday.

  • A runway incursion occurs any time an aircraft is on a runway when it's not supposed to be — say, for example, if pilots taxi onto an active runway without controllers' permission.

Why it matters: The FAA, airlines and other stakeholders have been striving to reduce the number of incursions following a spate of alarming near-disasters in recent months.

  • There were 0.44 serious incursions per 1 million takeoffs and landings in April, down from nearly 1.0 in January.

Yes, but: April's figure was double that of March, when there were just 0.22 serious incursions per million takeoffs and landings.

What they're saying: "Our efforts are working, but we must remain vigilant and continue to find ways to prevent close calls from happening at all," acting FAA administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement.

Meanwhile: The FAA announced Monday more than $100 million in funding to build or reconfigure taxiways and install new lighting systems meant to prevent incursions at 12 airports nationwide.

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