Dallas Love Field Airport Adds SAI Tech for Runway Safety

Dallas Love Field Airport is bustling with activity, handling around 700 planes daily. To ensure the safety of pilots and passengers, the airport has introduced the Surface Awareness Initiative (SAI) system, a new technological tool for air traffic controllers.

Javier Centeno, the superintendent of airside operations, explains the system’s benefits: “This new technology will actually let the air traffic controllers see the aircraft on the ground on the radar. See them all the way to the runway.”

Michael Emanuel from the FAA adds context to the significance of the technology. “In the National Airspace System, there’s only 44 airports, including Dallas Fort Worth, that have surface surveillance technologies. These systems cost in the order of millions of dollars,” Emanuel stated.

As of this weekend, Dallas Love Field is one of four airports in the nation equipped with the SAI system. This advanced system displays surface traffic to controllers, helping to prevent close calls on the runway. Prior to this technology, controllers relied solely on their eyesight and radio communication. Emanuel emphasizes the system’s impact: “A tool available to them that will indicate the position of aircraft in relation to each other will help mitigate runway incursions and close calls that we’ve seen of late across the National Airspace System.”

Local pilot and aviation attorney Ron McCallum praises the technology, having experienced it firsthand. “It’s amazing technology. We as pilots, of course, love it. We want to make sure that we’re safe and that passengers and the cabin crew are, too.”

The FAA funds the Surface Awareness Initiative through its capital investment plan. Emanuel notes that there is enough funding to roll out the system in dozens of airports nationwide, with San Antonio on the shortlist for future implementation.

The introduction of SAI technology at Dallas Love Field marks a significant step forward in ensuring runway safety, reflecting a broader commitment to enhancing air travel security across the country.

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