Report: FAA Needs To Improve Runway-Incursion Efforts

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The FAA has completed only 10 of the 22 initiatives it proposed in 2015 to address the problem of runway incursions, according to a report published last week by the federal Office of Inspector General. The OIG report said the FAA reported an 83-percent rise in incursions between 2011 and 2017, including serious incidents when two aircraft came within a few feet of colliding. The investigators found the FAA had achieved its goals of educating pilots on signs, markings, and other visual aids at high-risk airports, and updating a best-practices list for airport surface and movement areas. However, other initiatives have stalled, due to lack of funding and the slow implementation of new technologies. 

The initiatives that are incomplete include efforts to mitigate fatigue among controllers and pilots, and testing new NextGen technologies to issue taxi instructions, such as DataComm. The investigators made three recommendations to the FAA to revise its 2015 plan and improve runway safety. The FAA should be sure all initiatives have target dates and update the targets for those that are still in progress, develop quantifiable metrics to measure the effectiveness of each initiative and consolidate duplicate initiatives within the plan. The FAA concurred with all three recommendations. The FAA defines a runway incursion as any incident involving an unauthorized aircraft, vehicle or person on a runway.

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