Crossing Runways

I have a question, I landed runway 34L at Jeddah and was told to contact ground on the taxiway. So I contacted ground and asked to taxi to parking. I was told to taxi to parking, but to get to parking I need to cross a runway, so I requested to cross it. I was then told to contact tower, requested to cross and crossed, after I crossed I was told to contact ground, again, and had to request taxi to parking, again. Why is it that I go from tower to ground, back to tower and then back to ground, when I have to cross a runway.

Hey! I would recommend getting in touch with your controller, who was @Lawin_S. Have a good one!

It just happened 10 minutes ago but it’s not the controller because I have had to go through this process before.

Because when it’s busy, tower may handle crossings instead of ground. The reason for this is because unless ground and tower can communicate when to cross, ground can sometimes risk crossing an aircraft when tower clears someone for takeoff.

It’s true that when it isn’t very busy, often tower and ground controllers will communicate via slack but when it is busier if tower handles the crossings then it will save both controllers from constantly having to monitor slack to make sure it’s safe to cross.


Exactly what @TimShan05 said. At busy airports where Tower and Ground are two separate controllers it’s easier for Tower to handle most of the crossings to avoid incidents of someone crossing accidentally in front of someone taking off or landing.


But then shouldn’t I just stay on tower because I have to cross a runway.

@Lawin_S Told me that 2 when I was @ EGLL

No, because you need to be handed back off to ground when you have crossed so that ground can still do his job. The only reason you’re on tower is so that the tower controller can handle your crossing.

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A few days ago.

But then it is almost going back and forth between them.

@lucaviness And?

It’s what it sounds like, yes, but it makes more sense if you visualise it.

If you’re on ground and you have an aircraft waiting to cross a runway, you need to make sure it’s safe to cross. If you see someone holding short of the runway waiting for takeoff, if you cross an aircraft without making sure that tower is ok with what you are doing, then you run the risk of crossing him while tower clears the aircraft holding short for takeoff. However if you ask the tower controller to have him line up and wait instead of clearing him for takeoff, it’ll then be safe to cross any aircraft and then tower can give the other aircraft a line up and wait clearance, instead, and then a clearance for takeoff once the other aircraft has fully crossed.

This is where the communication comes in. The two tower and ground controllers need to be happy with what the other one wants to do. You’ll see this happening at airports with less traffic or on runways that are only being used for arrivals and not for departures (in which case no communication between tower and ground should be needed), because then you can just cross when there are any gaps you see.

However when the airport is busier, instead of having the two controllers having to say, “Can i cross XX?” and, “Sure, i’ll tell YY to line up and wait”, ground will just hand off any crossings to tower. That way instead of having the two controllers having to communicate all the time, tower can cross when it’s safe to do so and switch the aircraft back to ground one he gives the clearance to cross. That way both controllers can focus on controlling and not having to stare at slack all the time. I hope some of that made sense?


Exactly this. Believe it or not, 9 times out of 10 it’s much quicker to do it this way than to have the controllers communicate every aircrafts intention. Chances are if controllers did do that then there would be a post on IFC saying controllers are taking too long to respond or issue clearances.


One reason I know ground let you contact tower is Ground and tower are not same controller, they can’t communicate, if ground and tower is same controller, cross runway can be done in ground frequency

After you crossing the runway tower give you frequency change To ground, because ground need to see if there is any conflict, ground can issue give way to aircraft or progressive taxi instructions

FYI, we are talking about controlling all the time in slack, that is our communication center. So the controllers take the option of give crossings to towers or ground. :)

Adding on to everything that has already been said, tower controllers sometimes keep aircraft after a runway exit. For example, look at SFO. Instead of having aircraft switching to ground and then back to tower, controllers can send “exit runway when able and cross runway XX” or “exit runway when able and hold short runway XX”. Since no frequency change is given, aircraft will stay with tower and get crossed by tower.

I’m assuming this wasn’t the case with you since the runways are farther apart at OEJN. Switching you to ground allows the ground controller to send give way commands and better progressive taxi instructions.

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Because they had you exit incorrectly


Maybe it’s ok to stay with tower until you’ve cross all runway, and then request taxi to parking?

In my opinion it happens because controllers cannot separate “exit runway left/right” from “contact ground”, it’s the same button

But still, they can do It with “Exit runway, cross runway/hold short” button

Ops I wrote quite the same things of @lucaviness, I’m sorry :)

They can separate the two commands using the method I mentioned in my post above. They won’t if ground will need to help maintain separation on the ground using give way commands.

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The issue seems to be more of some ATC controllers not taking the advice that tower doesn’t need to be doing crossings, and if they do, they need to provide a correct exit command meaning to exit X directions and hold short runway X.

Obviously there’s a lot of variables, but it’s suggested that ground handle crossings and have good communication with tower to do so, this way it makes it easier on random joe pilot.

This seems like one of those bad habits that controllers have been stuck in.