05:13 AM

DFW International Airport Revolutionizing Airfield Safety, Begins Construction of Perimeter Taxiways

New aircraft taxiway system born from initiative with FAA and NASA; will speed planes and passengers to gates faster than ever

DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Texas (October 10, 2006) – DFW International Airport today announced plans to build a new Perimeter Taxiway System, a revolutionary aviation concept that will increase safety and efficiency of runways by eliminating hundreds of aircraft crossings a year. Today’s announcement was attended by leaders from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), highlighting the significance of the program. 

“This is a win-win-win,” said Jim Crites, executive vice president for operations at DFW. “By installing a perimeter taxiway system, we will be providing a better and safer operating environment for both pilots and air traffic controllers who devote themselves to providing a safe and efficient operating environment. The system will also provide the traveling public with greater efficiency and fewer delays on the ground, getting them off the gate or to their gate faster than ever before.” 

The concept is simple in theory: build perimeter taxiways around the airfield, enabling arriving aircraft to taxi around DFW’s seven active runways rather than waiting to cross them. That avoids possible incursions and increases the use of runways for takeoffs and landings. DFW will begin building its first perimeter taxiway around the southeastern quadrant of the 18,000-acre property this month. 

"It's great to see an investment that has multiple benefits," Marion C. Blakey, administrator of the FAA said. "The new perimeter taxiway will help reduce the risk of runway incursions and improve capacity and efficiency at the same time." 

Today’s announcement culminates years of planning and effort to provide pilots and air traffic controllers with a safer and more efficient method of moving aircraft from an active runway to a terminal gate. DFW teamed up with the FAA and NASA to test the benefits of a perimeter taxiway system in 2003. Air traffic controllers and pilots who work at DFW completed a virtual test of the system at NASA Ames FutureFlight Central in California that led to the planning and design stage, and ultimately to today’s announcement. 

“When we tested the system concepts, we were able to eliminate a significant number of runway crossings every hour,” added Crites. “In addition, we were able to improve communication between pilots and controllers. All of this makes for a safer working environment.” 

The first quadrant of the perimeter taxiway system will cost an estimated $66.7 million, with 75 percent of the funding coming from the FAA. The remainder of the project will be funded by DFW. The southeast quadrant taxiway is expected to be complete by the fall of 2008. It will continue DFW’s long-standing leadership role in developing and testing airfield safety initiatives which have been adopted worldwide. The Airport has collaborated with the FAA to test and implement other safety innovations including Runway Status Lights, Area Navigation and Bird Radar. 

The new construction will result in the closure of Carbon Road between East Airfield Drive and Employee Drive, and will temporarily close the Airport’s popular Founders Plaza observation point. Founders Plaza will be rebuilt on another area of the Airport with improved facilities and amenities.