The FAA’s Office of Safety and Operations has seen a slow, yet steady increase in the number of both vehicle and pedestrian incursions at airport around the U.S. over the past six months. Some of these incursion-caused incidents have been classified as serious enough to “narrowly avert catastrophic consequences.”
A recent FAA notice to Part 139 airport operators and agency safety inspectors concluded, “Whether the increase is a result of better reporting, a longer construction season, or airport congestion, this trend needs to be addressed by all the stakeholders in the airport environment.” FAA figures show incursions rising 120 percent for construction vehicles over the same period last year.
The agency has developed a number of suggestions to try to slow the incursion trend. It wants airport operators to review on-field driver training programs and vehicle access procedures, as well as enforce the policy that only vehicles and people with a specific need to be on movement areas should be granted access. That means reducing overall numbers of vehicles where practicable.
The agency also has suggested airport operators provide escorts to people who visit the airport infrequently. Spot checks are another method to ensure vehicles are equipped according to airport policies and that drivers understand proper ATC phraseology. Finally, FAA has proposed implementing a graduated penalty program for violations.