Van Nuys’ Zero Runway Incursion must be studied by FAA’s GAJSC

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Van Nuys Airports reports no runway or taxiway incursions for 2018

VNY is a high volume airport

Zero Runway Incursion is EXCEPTIONAL, but little detail on WHY given

General Aviation Joint Steering Committee should study to find the WHY(s)


“Van Nuys Airport (VNY) has reported a total of zero runway and taxiway incursions in 2018. The announcement headlined a comprehensive report on VNY safety and security initiatives presented at a meeting of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) held at Van Nuys City Hall.


The prevention of runway and taxiway incursions, classified by the FAA as a type of vehicle/pedestrian deviation (V/PD), has been identified as a critical safety and security issue at airports across the nation.

Deborah Flint, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, which operates VNY and Los Angeles International Airport, commented, “With more than 260,000 take-offs and landings in 2018, Van Nuys Airport attracts a high level of aircraft operations and diverse business activities on a daily basis.

“VNY’s tremendous success is the result of close collaboration among airport management, tenants, users and operators to implement ambitious and industry-leading safety and security programs.

“These efforts create a safer environment for passengers and flight crew, as well as for the more than 5,200 employees who work on the airfield.”

Since 2015, VNY has implemented a variety of voluntary and mandatory measures to reduce V/PDs in response to the FAA’s national call to action on this issue. They range from issuing administrative citations and revoking airfield driving privileges for safety violations, to establishing and auditing new security training programs for airport employees, vendors and visitors.

A key goal is to increase airport familiarization and situational awareness for all persons accessing the airport.

Overall, towered airports in the USA reported a total of 1,831 runway incursions in 2018, of which 335 were V/PDs. This is an increase over the 1,748 runway incursions reported in 2017, of which 293 were V/PDs.

In contrast, VNY has experienced a downward trend in the number of V/PDs over the past several years, recording four in 2015, three in 2016, one in 2017 and zero in 2018.”

More specificity as to what was really effective would have provided valuable insight for the many other airports which face the same risk.








This press announcement unfortunately did not provide much useful information about how VNY reached a Zero incursion year. The LAWA CEO spoke in generalities (“collaboration”, “voluntary and mandatory measures” “administrative citations”, “revoking airfield driving privileges “and “training programs”. More specificity as to what was really effective would have provided valuable insight for the many other airports which face the same risk.

Runway incursions have been identified by the NTSB and others as a top priority:

Media Advisory: NTSB to Hold Runway Incursion Prevention Forum










Opening Statement: Runway Incursion Safety Issues: Prevention and Mitigation

Most Wanted List > Runway Safety

Data Analysis of ASRS Runway Incursion Incident Reports – NTSB

 Tracking Runway Incursions

Better collection of human factors–related data is seen as crucial in preventing runway incursions.

FAA’s New Runway Incursion Initiative Should Be Implemented By All Airports

Fact Sheet Buries The Headline That FAA & Industry Are Advancing Runway Safety




No thanks to the LAWA meeting, the public was not made aware of the PowerPoint presentation (see the cover images, four pages from the PPT), the 143 slide course for users of VNY. The GA airport’s Flora Margheritis, whose career[1] qualified her to identify the critical points in the VNY runway and taxiway system , was likely involved in likely developing the content.





Hopefully, the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC),a public-private partnership working to improve general aviation safety, will use VNY as a good case study for their mission. Its paper on Runway Safety would benefit from what VNY did to bring incursions to zero in a year. GAJSC’s analysis might identify the significant causal factors and make recommendations for other airports to follow.

Aviation safety has adopted an approach based on sharing information. The VNY story needs to be studied and reported.



[1] worked as VNY’s chief of airport operations for eight years. She began her career with Los Angeles World Airports (the City of Los Angeles agency that owns and operates VNY) in 1993 as an airport operations coordinator, and later became an airport superintendent of operations. Her more than three decades of airport experience also include six years at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif., working at a fixed base operator.

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