Release #09.75
October 9, 2009

ALPA Applauds 50% Reduction in Runway Incursions—Calls for Continued Action

Washington, D.C.—Today, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. (ALPA), praised a Federal Aviation Administration report citing significant cuts in serious runway incursions over the last fiscal year, but warned against complacency. ALPA urged improvements at all airports that could effectively bring the number of runway incursions even lower. From September 2008 to the present, there were 12 serious runway incursions with only two involving commercial airlines, as compared to 25 total the year prior. A serious runway incursion is defined as an incident when a potential collision is avoided only through evasive and immediate action.

“Every day, tens of thousands of flights take off from airports across North America. Each one has the potential for a runway incursion,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “The great strides made in the last year demonstrate what can be done when groups work together to solve a problem, and that the goal of zero serious runway incursions is achievable.”

In support of the FAA, ALPA began its own campaign, “Hold Short for Runway Safety,” in 2008 and, as part of that ongoing initiative, added its voice to the successful call for the installation of Runway Status Lights (RWSLs) at major airports. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) installed RWSLs earlier this year, and within the first three months of the lights’ being operational, the airport had no runway incursions.

ALPA is calling on other major airports around the country to install RWSLs, as well as Runway Intersection Lights (RILs) and Low Cost Ground Surveillance (LCGS) systems. In November, Logan International Airport (BOS) in Boston plans to complete installation of RWSLs and to begin testing RILs. Four other U.S. airports are installing LCGS systems for evaluation and testing.

“Despite this impressive achievement, we simply can’t rest until there are no runway incursions,” said Capt. Rory Kay, executive air safety chairman of ALPA and co-chair of the FAA’s Runway Safety Council (RSC), a consortium of government and industry safety experts. “Each runway incursion puts the safety of passengers and crews at risk. One incident is one too many.”

For more information about ALPA’s “Hold Short for Runway Safety” campaign, please visit its website at

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing nearly 53,500 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada.


Contact: Doug Baj, 703/481-4440 or