Taxiway Confusion at KJFK and Other Airports

I saw this occur several times in the span of 20 minutes, so I can only presume it happens more than I care to imagine.

22R/04L is not a taxiway entrance to 31R. Its…well, it’s a runway. And as with every other airport, you don’t simply start taxiing down a runway you were not cleared to enter.

Here is a portion of the airport diagram (assume I remembered to properly label the runway with 04L):

If you wish to (and are allowed to) enter runway 31R for takeoff west of 22R/04L, you may do so via E or maybe even DB. East of 22R/04L, via Y. You do not enter 31R by entering 22R/04L without permission, just as you wouldn’t enter a different runway at any other airport.

Also, if you wish to cross 22R/04L, you do so via taxiways FB or YA (perhaps E, though unlikely). “Cross runway 22R” does not give you permission to enter 22R/04L, then backtaxi 31R. Doing so is entering, not one, but two runways without permission. Not a recipe for sticking around very long.

Here is how it appears in IF:

I’m not sure why this.particular runway would be seen as different from all others, but watching it happen several times in such a short span, I can only imagine it was not a fluke.


Very informative post with the visual explanation. I am not sure how so many pilots manage to fail like this and not understand something so basic. Thanks for this!

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Thank you for this, though I rarely fly out KJFK, as I prefer KLGA. I am bookmarking this as you never know when you will take off or land there.

So, it seems this may cause some confusion at other fields with intersecting runways.

No matter the airport, an intersecting runway is not an exit taxiway. For example, runway 30/12 at YSCB when landing on 35/17:

[Edit: Occasionally, I’m sure someone will say, tower or ground will instruct a pilot to use an inactive runway as a taxiway, but I think for our purposes, we can keep it simple.]


KJFK has the OLD taxiway layout at this location. It needs edited. Request has been put in. Waiting for @Nick_Art to complete alongside Zurich

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I am adding in runway/taxiway details in my web site

Check out EGLL, KLAX or EHAM

Hope to have KJFK layout done later this evening

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MaxSez: Now this type Topic is what I expected when I joined this Forum years ago. Seems its gone of track a bit! Professional Knowledge is the goal of a Forum like this. Let’s all strive to contribute at least 1 Topic a month that is not a rant, snivel or wish list item. Just Sayin, Gooday…


Ah, you’re right. Taxiway C in the chart is current, but IF still has the old ZA taxiway.

Thanks for working on that (and the other editors doing so.)

This is Good to know

Here you go. Here is my version of KJFK taken from my web site (for best results download and view in Google Earth)


Actually Runway 16/34 in ZRH is used as exit pretty much always for landings on runway 28. That’s because the next exit is at the end of the runway costing valuable time to reach. It’s common procedure in Zurich.

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Hmm, it’s as if I saw this coming:

I know there are exceptions. Or 08L/26R at Gatwick (not an intersection, but you get the point).

I know there are exceptions to the rule. I’ve heard ATC IRL tell pilots to exit onto a runway as well. But for the sake for simplicity in IF, exiting onto a runway in use is something that doesn’t need to be done.

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I din’t think so, I think we need to differntiate, because at an airport like Zuirch exiting on a runway is pretty much necessary.

They use that for 4R arrivals, departures never use it unless there’s a major storm inbound.

It seems we also need to look at the other end of a flight.

Upon landing, say on runway 22R, 31L is not an exit taxiway. It is a runway.

Again, the occasional airport in real life will specifically tell a pilot to use a runway as a taxiway, but the exit command in IF does not give you permission to use an intersecting runway as an exit taxiway.

And, to refresh on the original intent, runway 22R begins before the displaced threshold. The part of the runway before the touchdown markers is not a taxiway. Sitting there, you are not “holding short, runway 22R”. You on LUAW, runway 22R, something not approved when told to hold short.


Is there any instance in which a controller in IF would authenticate the use of a runway as a taxiway, and in this instance, how would a controller indicate this to the pilots?

In IF, we really don’t have the commands available to do that. I suppose if we really wanted to, we could use back taxi on runway 08L/26R at EGKK, but since that’s kind of a odd-ball, I don’t really see the point, except to sate the Londonite realism fanatics

We don’t have progressive taxi instructions (exit via Mike-Bravo, left on Bravo, hold short…), so the presumption is that you’re exiting a runway via a taxiway, not a runway.

Regarding using 22R as a taxiway, there’s no reason we would do that, especially with the runway in use. That interferes with traffic.


Yeah, I stopped by JFK today and saw how busy it was. I understand that this wouldn’t occur or be necessary in IF airports right now.

Another question: if we request a runway crossing, and the taxiways don’t directly meet, would it be OK to taxi a bit further down the runway to find a way across it? If this is unclear I can try and find a visual.

If you’re going to cross, the assumption is that you’re doing so at a point where there are two taxiways directly across from each other (i.e. the same trafficway). You shouldn’t enter at one taxiway, then traverse some distance of the runway you’re crossing, then exit on the other side. You should find a spot you can go straight across. To turn and traverse the runway becomes a back taxi of sorts, which is not the intention.

Also consider when it’s as busy as it was today, I had inbounds to the 22s, outbounds on the 22s, people crossing 22R to get to parking and going the other way to get to 31L. You need to be at a spot where you can cross expeditiously.

I suggest having a plan on where you intend to cross before arriving at the runway to avoid arriving somewhere where you’re stuck or don’t know where you’re headed. It may take an extra second’s pause in the trip there, but it will help everyone out in the long run.

[I had one for example who was 4th in line for departure who decided he was going to block all my traffic taxiing to parking from 22L and traffic on the way to the correct taxiway for 22R. I don’t think he quite grasped just how much congestion he was causing.]

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Ok, thanks for your help!