Release #06.012
April 6, 2006

ALPA Applauds “Concrete Steps” to Install EMAS at Midway

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Midway Airport’s recent proposal to install a special pavement system that slows airliners if they overshoot the end of a runway has been given a “two thumbs up” by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l.

“We are extremely pleased to hear that city and airport authorities have recognized the need to improve safety margins for operating at Chicago’s Midway Airport and are taking what might be called ‘concrete steps’ toward a solution,” said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of ALPA.

Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) is a special formulation of concrete and energy-absorbing materials. When laid down in runway overrun areas, people can walk on it and even drive light vehicles on it. When an airliner encounters EMAS, its wheels sink progressively into the surface, quickly bringing it to a safe stop, generally with no significant damage to the airplane or hazard to passengers.

“Ideally, we would prefer that all runways meet the current FAA criteria for runway safety areas. However, we understand that land use constraints make extending runway overrun areas problematic for Midway and other airports. The use of specially engineered materials that safely slow an aircraft past the end of a runway can greatly reduce the risks associated with an overrun,” Woerth said.

“We’ve made dramatic progress toward safety in the skies; but safety’s ‘ground game,’ the airport environment, has lagged behind. Runway overrun hazards have been a particularly resistant problem. We fully support Chicago’s application for FAA funding to install EMAS at Midway,” Woerth said.

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

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