Release #06.009
March 21, 2006

Pilots: FAA Review of Controller Procedure Promises to Increase Safety on the Nation’s Runways

WASHINGTON, DC -- The FAA’s review of a procedure that allows aircraft to position for takeoff on a runway while another flight prepares to land sets the stage to enhance safety, according to the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA).

“The FAA’s review promises to build in necessary safeguards during departure and arrival operations on the nation’s runways as the number of airliners carrying passengers and cargo continues to climb,” said Capt. Larry Newman, Chairman of the ALPA Air Traffic Services Group. 

During taxi into position and hold (TIPH) operations, air traffic controllers put aircraft awaiting departure in position on a runway while another aircraft is on final and already cleared to land on the same runway. ALPA believes that using TIPH, while an important procedure for maintaining capacity at many airports around the country, has also been a cause of numerous near collisions between aircraft landing and taking off on the same runway. Because of this, ALPA had asked the FAA to review certain provisions of the TIPH procedure that are prone to error. The FAA’s review is a significant step toward modifying and standardizing the TIPH procedure and establishing a safer operation at all locations where this procedure is used.

In its directive, the FAA requires air traffic tower managers to review whether TIPH operations are required at their location considering safety, capacity, efficiency, users’ perspectives, and airport configuration, and create guidance for their specific facility as to how these operations should be carried out. The FAA also requires that the agency’s Air Traffic Organization review and approve each facility’s guidance.

“It’s imperative to maintain a balance between the demands of capacity and safety in all airline operations,” continued Capt. Newman. “We anticipate that the FAA’s new guidelines will make this essential procedure safer.”

ALPA represents 62,000 airline pilots at 39 carriers in the U.S. and Canada. Its website is

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ALPA CONTACTS: John Mazor, Linda Shotwell, (703) 481-4440,