Congress Seeks Results On Runway Safety Issues

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Progress on reducing runway incursions is impeded by a lack of leadership in the FAA as well as technology challenges, a Congressional committee was told by Gerald Dillingham, of the Government Accountability Office, on Wednesday. Dillingham's report also cited NTSB concerns about air traffic controller fatigue, which may result from regularly working overtime. The House Subcommittee on Aviation convened the hearing to discuss how runway safety can be improved. AOPA President Phil Boyer said his group will commit to expanding programs to educate pilots in 2008, but the FAA also needs to do more to make runway safety "a national priority." The FAA said it is expediting its certification process to get better equipment into cockpits faster. "We are actively working on an application from Jeppesen [for a GPS moving-map system], and we expect they will complete certification soon," the FAA said in a fact sheet released on Tuesday.

The Congressional panel also heard testimony from spokesmen for the NTSB, NATCA, the Air Line Pilots Association, Honeywell, and airport advocacy groups. The FAA's Hank Krakowski, chief operating officer of the Air Traffic Organization, said the agency will create a new Runway Council Working Group to identify and address the issues.