The FAA’s newest runway safety enhancement tool, runway status lights (RWSLs), became operational on July 25 at Washington Dulles International Airport (KIAD). The new system uses a series of colored lights embedded in the runway and taxiway pavement to help prevent runway incursions by offering pilots and vehicle operators a simple visual system to determine whether it is safe to cross or enter a runway.
London Gatwick Airport has proposed construction of a second parallel runway. If construction of the new runway is given a green light, it is expected to create additional air traffic flexibility and system safety for both business and commercial aircraft operations. The Gatwick plan offers three potential runway configurations, the most flexible allowing simultaneous instrument approaches and departures on both runways. Politically, prospects for building the runway are tied up in the wider debate about possible future expansion of London Heathrow Airport.
None of the five people aboard a Sukhoi Superjet 100 was injured on July 21 when the aircraft landed gear-up during an early-morning approach at Iceland’s Reykjavík-Keflavík International Airport (BIRK). The Russian aircraft had departed Reykjavik at just after 4 a.m. local time on a training flight and was conducting an approach to Runway 11 when it executed a go-around and a circuit over the sea before returning to land.
The FAA recorded 1,150 runway incursions in the 12-month period ending September 30 last year across the U.S., and 18 of them were classified as “A” and “B,” the most serious of the four incursion categories. Some 772 of those incursions were pilot-induced.
The Las Vegas ATC tower announced that effective July 12, aircraft departing McCarran International Airport (LAS) should no longer expect to be issued either of the airport’s parallel Runways 19 Left or Right during a southerly traffic flow.
Runway 16R/34L, the primary runway at Van Nuys Airport in southern California, is closed until July 26 at 11:59 p.m. The closure is part of a $20.5 million improvement program, which includes asphalt milling and paving of more than 4,000 feet of the center section of the runway. Runway 16L/34R (4,000 feet long) remains open as normal (closing at night from 10:45 p.m. to 6 a.m.). Pilots are urged to check notams before flying to Van Nuys. The runway improvement project will be completed in August.
The FAA has published details outlining new procedures for air traffic controllers conducting simultaneous approaches to offset parallel runways (SOIA) at airports separated laterally by less than 3,000 feet, such as San Francisco International (SFO).
NoJetsTO, a grassroots anti-airport movement around Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport (CYTZ), packed a July 2 airport executive committee meeting to tell Toronto’s mayor they oppose opening the airport to jets, a move that also requires Runway 8/26 be extended to accommodate those aircraft. The airport currently does not accept jet aircraft. The move began not long after Porter Airlines announced a conditional purchase order for Bombardier CSeries jets.
On June 27 construction concluded on an engineered materials arresting system (Emas) added to the new runway safety area (RSA) at the departure end of Boston Logan’s Runway 33L. The new crushable concrete system sits atop a 300-foot-wide concrete pier that extends nearly 500 feet into the water. The Emas itself covers an area 500 feet long and 170 feet wide.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), working with the Changi Airport Group, has introduced a number of new procedures on June 19 to ensure safe operations at Singapore’s Changi International Airport (WSSS). The efforts are specific to operations during low-visibility conditions resulting from recent severe haze caused by fires set to clear land in Sumatra. An extra one or two miles of separation will be added between arrivals, and the airport will keep runway lights on during daytime operations.