Survey of Lightning Warning Procedures for Ramp Closures at US Airports
In addition to the safety aspect, different sensors, guidelines and adherence to procedures for resuming ramp operations after a storm passes also results in inefficiencies to air traffic at an airport that often causes impacts to the entire National Airspace System. While reopening the ramp too early may compromise safety of personnel, leaving the ramp closed longer than necessary extends delays of departing aircraft and keeps arrival aircraft in holding patterns or forces them to divert. These inefficiencies are economically costly to airlines and passengers alike, and create additional work for air traffic controllers.
In an attempt to improve safety while minimizing inefficiencies, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is conducting research on developing a set of recommended lightning warning guidelines and procedures that airports and airlines, regardless of size or geographic location, can utilize for their operations. The goal is to generate guidelines that can be implemented at little or no cost, and can be tailored by the airport and airlines to meet their operational needs and demands. This presentation will provide an overview of the problem, an example of inefficiencies at a major airport during a lightning event, and status of the research in development of these guidelines.