Release #08.035
July 14, 2008

Airline Pilots Call for Runway Safety Technologies Now
ALPA applauds FAA for moving in the right direction

WASHINGTON – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l applauded the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today for announcing initiatives that are designed to improve runway safety at busy U.S. airports.

“Today’s FAA announcement that it plans to begin the process that will, over a three year period, upgrade runway safety at 20 airports this fall is a good first step, but we have much more to do to take airline safety into the 21st Century,” said Capt. John Prater, president of the Association. “Runway status lights at 20 airports will help, but there are dozens more airports that need this technology as well.”

ALPA has advocated for a comprehensive list of runway safety improvements over the span of the last decade, calling on Congress and other government agencies to develop, fund, and implement technologies that would transform the National Airspace System. Despite advances in technology, most airline pilots still fly aging airliners with few, if any, of these improvements.

“The U.S. must adequately prepare for increases in air traffic, airport operations, and runway incursion risks. That means proper funding and implementation of real solutions sooner rather than later,” Prater said. “The key to safety – and U.S. competitiveness – lies in federal investment in next generation technologies for the long haul.”

ALPA-backed runway safety technologies include cockpit moving map displays that show aircraft position relative to runways and taxiways—similar to the GPS device that many people have in their cars, the integration of ADS-B to enable pilots and controllers to track all aircraft and vehicles on the surface and up to 1,000 feet above ground level, automatic runway occupancy alerting, and digital data-linked clearances that are then displayed on the moving map.

“ALPA also recognizes Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) for his early and continuing leadership to make runway safety a priority. His House Aviation Subcommittee has kept focus on this issue and on holding the FAA accountable for implementing new safety technologies,” Prater continued.

“Pilots have done their part as well. In February, ALPA launched a ‘Hold Short for Runway Safety’ campaign designed to keep our members educated and ever vigilant on the ground and in the air,” Prater said. For more information about ALPA’s “Hold Short for Runway Safety” educational campaign, visit the “Hold Short for Runway Safety” website.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing 55,000 cockpit crewmembers at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit for more information.

# # #

ALPA CONTACTS: Pete Janhunen, Molly Martin, (703) 481-4440,