By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
If you're talking to air traffic controllers this week, you're going to hear some new directions from ground control: starting Wednesday, June 30, "taxi to" will no longer be used when issuing taxi instructions to an assigned takeoff runway. Controllers are now required to issue explicit instructions to cross or hold short of each runway that intersects a taxi route. Instructions to cross multiple runways will not be issued; you will be cleared to cross each runway one at a time. This applies even to inactive or closed runways. The only exception: At airports where the taxi route between runway centerlines is less than 1,000 feet apart,
multiple runway crossings may be issued, but only after ATC has received approval to do so. In effect, every hold line now is considered a "stop sign."
If you need more information, you can go to the FAA order changing the procedures (PDF), which provides official details, or to this condensed runway safety notice (PDF), which is meant for pilots, and clearly spells out the changes. You can also watch a brief video that succinctly explains and illustrates the new rules. To sum it up, the FAA says: "Never cross a hold line without explicit ATC instructions. If in doubt, ASK! You may not enter a runway unless you have been: instructed to cross that specific runway; cleared to take off from that runway; or instructed to position and hold on that specific runway."