FAA Mandates More Precise Taxi Instructions

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Under new FAA procedures that take effect this week, air traffic controllers must provide specific taxi routes to pilots, instead of simply OK'ing them to proceed to a stated destination. Controllers now must name the taxiways the aircraft should follow at each step along its route. FAA safety officials developed the new procedure as part of an effort to reduce runway incursions. A panel of risk-management experts and aviation user groups analyzed risk factors associated with the new procedures, such as longer periods of communication between controllers and pilots, and the increased chance of miscommunication. They concluded that the new procedure was safe.

The panel also is reviewing recommendations for changes in takeoff and landing clearance procedures.