FAA issues runway crossing clearance changes

Pilots operating at airports with air traffic control towers will get new phraseology to make taxi clearances clearer. Starting June 30, 2010, air traffic controllers will no longer use the term “taxi to” when authorizing aircraft to taxi to an assigned takeoff runway, according to FAA officials. With the change, controllers must issue explicit clearances to pilots crossing any runway (active/inactive or closed) along the taxi route. In addition, pilots crossing multiple runways must be past the first runway they are cleared to cross before controllers may issue the next runway-crossing clearance.

One exception to the new rule is at airports where taxi routes between runway centerlines are fewer than 1,000 feet apart. In this case, multiple runway crossings may be issued if approved by the FAA Terminal Services Director of Operations.

The elimination of the “taxi to” phrase will apply only to departing aircraft. Arriving aircraft will still hear the phrase “taxi to” when instructed to taxi to the gate or ramp. However, controllers in these situations still will be required to issue specific crossing instructions for each runway encountered on the taxi route. For more information on the change, refer to FAA Order N JO 7110.528, which can be found here.

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