FAA Issues Guidance On Overflow Aircraft Parking
WASHINGTON—The FAA, responding to airport operators seeking help on how to manage rising numbers of grounded aircraft as commercial operators reduce service, has issued national guidance on parking “overflow” aircraft.
Contained in Part 139 Cert Alert 20-02, the guidance urges airports to form a committee of key stakeholders, including airlines, fixed-base operators, first responders and air traffic controllers to develop a plan. Among the steps that all plans should consider: parking on runways “must be avoided” to eliminate the risk of an inadvertent landing on a closed runway. Instead, space at gates and on ramps, aprons and intermediate taxiways should be prioritized, with careful consideration that required aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) response times are not adversely affected. “Extensive coordination should occur with ARFF, law enforcement and other emergency response officials, as well as tower personnel on any changes to emergency operation routes,” the agency said.
Parking in any nonstandard areas should be highlighted via NOTAMs and automatic terminal information service update, as well as barriers or other physical attention-getting steps.
“The temporary parking plan should have a defined start and end date, which can be updated if required,” the FAA said. “During the COVID-19 situation, local parking plans should be evaluated, and agreed to by the committee, at least once every 90 days.”
The rush to find space for aircraft comes as airlines around the world ground aircraft in response to the coronavirus-related demand dip. The sheer number of U.S. airplanes being parked has led several large airports to close taxiways and, in at least one case, a runway. Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International issued a Mar. 20 NOTAM closing Runway 10-28 through mid-April, giving Delta Air Lines more room at its hub to park aircraft. Delta has grounded more than 600 aircraft and cut capacity more than 70%.