Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has completed mandatory safety improvements to all four of its runways, and they are once again operating at their full length.
The US Congress required all US airports to undertake Runway Safety Area (RSA) improvements that provide an extra margin of safety for landing and departing aircraft. RSAs provide a buffer zone should an aircraft overshoot, overrun or veer off a runway while landing or taking off. RSAs are typically 1,000ft x 500ft at each runway end and 250 feet from the runway centreline. The RSAs are not runway extensions.
“After more than two years of work, Los Angeles International Airport is proud to announce that we have finished the fourth and final Runway Safety Area project, which creates additional safeguards for all of our passengers and ensures that the planes of today – and the future – will have the space to take-off and land safely and within Federal Aviation Administration guidelines,” said Keith Wilschetz, Deputy Executive Director of Operations and Emergency Management at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA). “We appreciate the understanding the neighbouring communities have shown when flight patterns were temporarily altered to complete this next step along the path of modernising LAX.”
The RSA improvements at LAX began in March 2015, and were phased in to limit the impact to operations. The RSA work also provided an opportunity for LAX to perform other airfield improvements and runway maintenance.
Airport officials consulted with airline partners, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and neighbouring communities on flight management plans in order to minimise impacts to surrounding communities and air travellers during the RSA programme construction.
The final RSA improvements on Runway 7L-25R were completed over the weekend, of August 19-20, and the runway reopened at its full 12,091ft length on August 21. The runway work on Runway 7L-25R began in October 2016, following completion of the RSA construction on Runway 6R-24L.
Runway 7L-25R remained operational starting in October 2016 in a shortened configuration while its east end and adjoining taxiways were reconstructed. It then closed in late April to allow for maintenance and rehabilitation work, electrical revisions and the start of RSA improvements on the west end of the runway. The runway reopened in a shortened configuration in late May while west end RSA work continued, before completion this weekend and reopening today full length.