Charlotte Douglas reopens fourth runway - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Charlotte Douglas reopens fourth runway

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -

Charlotte Douglas International Airport has reopened its fourth runway after a review ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The reopening of the airport's shortest runway comes after the FAA had ordered it closed because of safety concerns, The Charlotte Observer (http://bit.ly/1fEK0YH) reported.

The runway is used mostly for landings and to cut down on noise in surrounding neighborhoods since its flight path is mostly aligned with the Interstate 85 corridor.

The FAA closed the runway in August because of concerns that planes using the runway might cross paths with aircraft on the center runway.

The runways do not cross, but their flight paths do intersect.

There have been several incidents in the past several years where people have expressed concern about the simultaneous use of the two runways, although no accidents have been reported.

The FAA said there are now increased safety measures in place to make sure that planes do not get in each other's way.

Air traffic controllers now see a "window" on their radar screens that show when a plane is making its final approach to the diagonal runway, said FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

"While an arriving aircraft is in the 'window,' controllers cannot clear a flight for takeoff" from the center runway, Bergen said.

The airport had said that closing the diagonal runway reduced its maximum capacity for arrivals per hour to 85 flights, down from 95 when the runway was open.

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