MSP Converging Runway Operations Update

At the January 20, 2016 MSP Noise Oversight Committee (NOC) meeting, Elaine Buckner, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic manager, updated the group on the status of the Converging Runway Operations (CRO) procedures at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).

At the meeting, Ms. Buckner informed the group that the FAA has determined that Runway 30R (north parallel runway), in addition to Runway 30L (south parallel runway), does not meet new converging runway separation requirements for Runway 35 aborted landings (go arounds).  Thus, starting this month, the FAA will begin implementing procedures for Runway 30R similar to the procedures currently being used to separate arrivals on Runway 35 from departures on Runway 30L.

A converging runway operation exists when runways that do not physically intersect have flight paths that could intersect within one mile of the runway ends. At MSP, the extended centerline of Runway 35 intersects within one mile with the extended centerlines of both Runway 30L and Runway 30R. CRO procedures prevent an aircraft that aborts its landing on Runway 35 from conflicting with aircraft departing Runways 30L or 30R. 

 Converging Runway Operations Area of Avoidance at MSP

Ms. Bucker noted that when Runway 35 opened in 2005, the FAA had already established procedures (and have continued to refine them over the past 10 years) to help keep the number of aborted landings on Runway 35 to a minimum. She said the FAA is now further reducing the potential for conflict by implementing separation procedures designed to ensure an aircraft making an aborted landing on Runway 35 does not cross paths with a departing aircraft on either Runway 30L or 30R.

Since August 2015 the FAA has been alternating arrivals on Runway 35 with departures from Runway 30L. This month, they will begin doing the same for departures from Runway 30R.

Ms. Buckner said these adjustments will provide the  required separation while at the same time  having  minimal, if any, further impact on number of aircraft that can land per hour  at MSP.

It’s important to note that the new procedures do not result in new flight paths.

The MAC will continue to monitor how these changes impact runway use, flight patterns and noise.