FAA to Suspend Opposite Direction Runway Operations; Some Airport Noise Abatement Procedures Likely to be Impacted

ACI-NA has learned that, effective midnight on August 8, the FAA will suspend opposite direction runway operations throughout the National Airspace System. 

Opposite direction runway operations occur when aircraft landings use airport runways in the opposite direction as takeoffs.  Such operations take place for a variety of reasons, including nighttime noise abatement.

This suspension is a direct response to the loss of separation incident that occurred north of Washington Reagan National Airport on July 31.  Both U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta addressed this incident in detail last week.  Their remarks and a description of the incident are available here.

The suspension is expected to be temporary while the FAA conducts site-specific safety reviews of opposite direction procedures.  These reviews are expected to take place over the next several weeks.

The FAA has advised us that airport operators that need more information regarding the suspension should contact their local air traffic facilities (i.e., local Tower staff).  If your airport relies on opposite direction operations for noise abatement or other reasons, we urge you to contact your local Tower staff to discuss the implications of the suspension as soon as possible.

We would also appreciate it if you could notify us at coswald@aci-na.org if your airport is being adversely impacted by this suspension.

ACI-NA will be monitoring this issue closely in the coming weeks.  Please contact Chris Oswald (coswald@aci-na.org) if you have any questions or need additional information.