How are runways selected?


What makes an aircraft take off or land on one runway instead of another? Runway selection is a complex process where the safety of air traffic always comes first. These are the 10 key factors that determine the choice of runways in use at Brussels Airport:

  1. Preferential Runway System (PRS): the default set of runway configurations as defined by the federal authorities. Read more about PRS.

  2. The availability of runways and taxiways can cause certain runways to be unusable for a given duration. I.e. maintenance works, snow removal, de-icing, painting, mowing, etc.

  3. Meteorological conditions at the airport: the weather at the airport (surface wind, low visibility, etc.) is important when selecting a suitable runway configuration. Find out how meteo affects runway usage.

  4. Meteorological conditions near the airport in the departure and/or approach path: weather phenomena in the departure/approach path (wind aloft, thunder storms, etc) can have an impact on the runway selection. Find out how meteo affects runway usage.

  5. Obstacles in the departure and/or approach path: certain obstacles in the vicinity of the airport can have a temporary impact on the runway selection. This includes crane erected in or outside the airport, fire in the vicinity of the airport, etc.

  6. Unplanned unavailability of airport and/or Air Traffic Control equipment: the runway configuration can change in case certain equipment (navigation aids, runway lights, etc.) is unavailable. 

  7. Planned maintenance of airport and/or Air Traffic Control equipment: in case certain equipment (navigation aids, runway lights, etc.) is under maintenance, the runway configuration can change.

  8. Traffic demand exceeds capacity of PRS : some runway configurations (in particular in crossing runway operations) have a limited capacity. Therefore a different runway configuration could be necessary, when there is a larger traffic demand.

  9. Special activities: certain flights might impact the runways that could be used. This includes navigation aids calibration flights, photo missions, etc.

  10. Other: includes other elements that could influence the runway configuration ( VVIP visit, industrial actions, etc.)

And of course the Brussels Airport infrastructure itself plays a big role in the runway selection procedure. You can find more information on the infrastructure on this page.

icon_info Plane departing Group 7 Created with Sketch. Icon triangle warning Icon triangle left Icon triangle right Icon close Icon triangle warning Questionmark Reason meteo Reason obstacles Reason unplanned Reason planned maintenance Reason capacity exceeded Reason unavailable (non-availability) Reason special activities Reason other Search Arrow right