Alaska Airlines Equips Fleet With Runway Awareness Technology

Continuing a long tradition of leadership in safety innovation, Alaska Airlines will be the first major U.S. passenger carrier to equip its entire aircraft fleet with a system designed to help...

Continuing a long tradition of leadership in safety innovation, Alaska Airlines will be the first major U.S. passenger carrier to equip its entire aircraft fleet with a system designed to help prevent accidents on runways and taxiways.

The Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS), developed by Honeywell in 2003, provides pilots with audible alerts when they approach and enter taxiways and runways. The system confirms runway identifications to help ensure pilots are on the correct runway with enough distance to complete takeoff, and provides an audible warning if a pilot inadvertently accelerates for takeoff while on a taxiway.

Regulatory agencies, airlines and others in the aviation community regard incidents in these operational areas — known as runway incursions — as one of the industry’s biggest safety issues.

"Runways are a challenging environment where everything comes together," said Gregg Saretsky, Alaska Airlines’ executive vice president of flight and marketing. "RAAS is the latest step in Alaska’s ongoing journey of innovation with Honeywell. By putting this advanced situational awareness technology on all of our planes, coupled with other systems we have in place, Alaska will be flying the most technologically modern airline fleet in the United States and our pilots will be assured of an additional layer of safety while on the nation’s runways."

Alaska Airlines began installing RAAS on its Boeing 737s in July after working with Honeywell to make sure the technology met the carrier’s specific operational needs. During the past three years, Alaska pilots have helped develop and test RAAS. Alaska’s fleet will be fully equipped with the aural alert software by the end of September.

"The inclusion of RAAS throughout Alaska Airlines’ fleet reflects the safety leadership and strong commitment from both Alaska Airlines and Honeywell to reduce runway incursions," said Garrett Mikita, president of Honeywell’s air transport and regional business. "In today’s increasingly crowded airport environments, Honeywell’s RAAS technology, customized for Alaska to match their unique operating requirements, improves safety by enhancing flight crew situational awareness."

RAAS is a software enhancement to Honeywell’s proven Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), which warns pilots if they fly too close to terrain. Alaska began installing EGPWS in its aircraft in the mid-1990s and recently upgraded the system to provide pilots with visual alerts for tall buildings and other man-made structures.

A longtime innovator in flight safety technology, Alaska Airlines’ history of firsts includes other key systems that provide pinpoint navigation and help pilots take off and land in poor weather. In the mid-1990s, the airline pioneered Required Navigation Performance (RNP), which uses the satellite-based Global Positioning System to improve the carrier’s safety and reliability for flights operating in and out of Juneau, Alaska. Alaska Airlines is the only U.S.-based airline whose entire fleet is equipped to fly RNP arrivals and departures, now authorized at 19 U.S. airports.

The company’s fleet also is equipped with the Head-Up Guidance System. This technology provides aircraft performance and navigation information in a transparent window positioned between the captain and aircraft windshield, allowing takeoffs and landings at the lowest minimum weather conditions certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Based in Phoenix, Honeywell’s $12 billion aerospace business is a leading global provider of integrated avionics, engines, systems and service solutions for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, business and general aviation, military, space and airport operations.

Alaska Airlines and sister carrier Horizon Air together serve 94 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. For reservations, visit For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at

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SOURCE: Alaska Airlines

CONTACT: Caroline Boren or Marianne Lindsey, both of Alaska Airlines,
+1-206-392-5101; or Karen Crabtree of Honeywell, +1-602-365-5255