Getting Tough on Runway Incursions

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Shreveport (Louisiana) Downtown Airport (DTN) has a message for you. If you're planning to wander out onto a runway in anything other than a plane, with anything other than control-tower approval, don't do it there. The FAA began an all-out assault on runway incursions under the leadership of Jane Garvey, and takes them very, very seriously. Because they do, airports had better, too. "We have to file all our incursions with the FAA," says DTN manager Jerry McKinney. "And they want to know what we're doing about them." What the northwest Louisiana airport is doing now is going for the wallet. One DTN tenant has been fined $500 and his guest $150 for a jaunt onto an active runway. According to security officials, instead of escorting his guest to the nearest security gate, the tenant simply pointed in the direction of it. You can guess what happened next. The non-pilot visitor ended up on the active runway, yes, and in doing so, forced an airplane on short final to go around. The tenant/pilot-led Downtown Airport Safety Advisory Committee and airport management agreed several months ago to turn up the heat on incursions by holding tenants responsible for not only their actions but for those of the people they invite to the airport. DTN, like many others, has seen its share of runway incursions ... everything from tenants taking shortcuts to non-tenants searching for friend's hangars and using the handy numbered "road" in the middle of the field. Warnings, letters, and signs seemed to have no lasting effect ... but officials are betting the fines will. The FAA has been in contact with DTN officials and is reportedly looking to publicize the incursion fines, which manager McKinney has been told could be an airport first.