Bush Airport Gets Federal Money for Runway Safety

Bush Intercontinental Airport's runways will undergo safety upgrades. The Federal Aviation Administration announced today they'll add new lighting systems at twenty-one airports — including Bush. Laurie Johnson reports.
The federal allocation will fund upgrades on a number of runways at Bush Intercontinental.

Houston Airport System Chief Operating Officer Tom Bartlett says the upgrades are another means to prevent runway collisions.

"It'll be a series of red lights. So if a pilot inadvertently passed several other visual markings this is just another layer of safety enhancements. So the aircraft will see the visual on the center line of the taxiway leading to the runway that would be red lights, which would again indicate stop."

Houston officials don't yet know how much federal money will be allocated for the safety upgrades. The FAA is still in the process of identifying which locations are eligible.

"I think they've identified probably about six or seven right now. We have a runway that will be closed in October for about a four-month period for some reconstruction and I think that'll probably be the first location, while we have the runway torn up they can get the lighting system installed."

The announced safety improvements from the FAA come less than a week after near-accidents at New York's JFK Airport. Last week planes at JFK nearly collided on the runway in two separate incidents. The new lighting systems will be installed at 21 airports over the next three years.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...