10:34 AM

DFW International Airport Receives $4m Grant From FAA For Perimeter Taxiways

Successful Experiment With NASA To Begin Implementation; Airport Continues Global Leadership in Airfield Safety

DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, TEXAS (August 18, 2005) – Continuing its global leadership in airfield safety and cutting-edge implementation of new safety standards, DFW International Airport this week accepted a $4M grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to fund construction of the first phase of perimeter taxiways around the Airport. DFW is expected to have the taxiway project completed by 2008, increasing runway safety while speeding passengers to their gate without having to stop to wait for opportunities to cross an active runway. The grant is the latest success story in DFW’s globally–recognized achievement in the critical area of airfield safety in collaboration with the FAA and NASA.

“At DFW, safety and security are our top priorities, and it all begins as soon as a plane reaches our 18,000 acres,“ says Jim Crites, executive vice president of operations at DFW. “What this Airport team has done over the past five years to improve airfield safety has put new safety programs and procedures in airports around the world. We are extremely proud of that – and now perimeter taxiways will be the latest innovation that will improve an already phenomenal track record at DFW.”

Perimeter taxiways – ribbons of concrete that will circle DFW’s massive airfield and seven runways – enable aircraft to taxi around runways rather than having to cross them, avoiding possible incursions while decreasing radio communications traffic between pilots and controllers. The precedent-setting program was successfully tested by DFW and by NASA at its Ames FutureFlight Central, virtual reality control tower, the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center. Active-duty pilots and air traffic controllers who fly out of and work at DFW took part in the testing. 

"The Federal Aviation Administration has been working in partnership with the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for over 11 years on a safety and efficiency initiative, known as the Perimeter Taxiway System, an initiative that will reduce significantly the over 1,700 daily runway crossings, "said Mike Nicely, manager of the FAA’s Texas Airport Development Office. "The FAA is very impressed with DFW’s continued commitment toward enhancing safety at the airport with initiatives such as the Perimeter Taxiway System and look forward to this first quadrant becoming operational."

In addition, DFW’s airfield safety programs were recently recognized for a recordsetting fourth consecutive year of zero-discrepancies in its FAA certification process – covering more than 3.8 million take-offs and landings in that period. 

And the Airport’s active and leading participation in a wide range of cutting edge safety initiatives continues to set new standards in aviation safety. For example:

Bird Radar:

DFW International Airport served as a test site last fall for an experimental radar system designed to track location and movement of birds in close proximity to airport runways. The eventual goal of the system is to increase aviation safety by providing real-time information to air traffic controllers and pilots about potential bird hazards and by tracking bird movement and migration patterns. 

Runway Status Lights:

The FAA at DFW is testing a new system that works like traffic lights on the airfield by informing pilots if it is unsafe to cross an active runway or for departing aircraft if it is unsafe to start a take-off roll because of another aircraft on or crossing the runway. Two ground radar systems interact with a computer system to turn red lights on if an unsafe condition exists in an effort to further reduce the chance of runway accidents.

Surface Movement Guidance and Control System:

DFW operates a surface movement guidance and control system to ensure the safe movement of vehicles during times of low visibility. The flashing yellow runway guard lights are the heart of the DFW System and are operated 24 hours a day to better ensure pilots and vehicle operators realize that they are approaching a runway. 

“I Brake for Runways” and Wildlife Campaigns:

DFW executes education campaigns for Airport employees to ensure runway safety and reduce wildlife incidents with aircraft. The “I Brake For Runways” campaign ended earlier this year and was hugely successful in educating the airport community about proper operations when crossing runways. The “Wildlife Campaign” just kicked off this month with posters, fliers, brochures and CD’s distributed around the airport, encouraging employees not to feed wildlife because of the inherent dangers to aviation.

Area Navigation (RNAV):

DFW has worked with the FAA to improve the efficiency of airport operations. The RNAV program is a global satellite navigation system that guides pilots along more direct departure routes. When implemented in the fall of this year it is expected to increase efficiency by 15-20 percent and will also reduce communication congestion, reduce flying time and distance, provide better utilization of the runways and improved departure route consistency.

Aircraft Vortex Spacing System (AVOSS):

DFW supported the testing of the Aircraft Vortex Spacing System by NASA and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Labs for three years. This system promises to allow closer spacing of aircraft on landing approach without adversely affecting safety.  

Runway Incursion Prevention System (RIPS):

DFW supported a demonstration of NASA's Runway Incursion Prevention System that provides runway incursion alerts directly on cockpit instruments to reduce runway incursion accidents.

Runway Incursion Reduction Program (RIRP):

DFW worked with the FAA on its Runway Incursion Reduction Program that integrated several surface surveillance systems into a common display that alerts air traffic controllers to runway incursions with the potential of also providing alerts to pilots and vehicle operators.