Is there an international regulation for this matter or does it differ from one country to another?

  • $\begingroup$ In cairo International airport the distance between RWY 05L and 05R is 4250m and we just had instructions issued today that when having landing traffic 6nm final RWY 05R no departure permitted on RWY 05L.untill the arrival traffic is on ground even there is successive arrivals.... So the departure will hold short the other RWY undefinite time $\endgroup$
    – Michel
    Jan 10, 2018 at 18:00

3 Answers 3


In the United States, the FAA has published Advisory Circular 150/5300-13A, Airport Design , which includes standards and recommendations for airport design, including parallel runway separation.

In summary,

  • "For simultaneous landings and takeoffs using VFR, the minimum separation between centerlines of parallel runways is 700 feet (213 m)."
  • For simultaneous IFR operations, "Dual simultaneous precision instrument approaches are normally approved on parallel runway centerline separation of 4,300 feet (1311 m). On a case-by-case basis, the FAA will consider proposals utilizing separations down to a minimum of 3,000 feet (914 m) where a 4,300 foot (1311 m) separation is impractical. This reduction of separation requires special high update radar, monitoring equipment, etc." Note: Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approaches allow as little as 750 ft between runway centerlines.

International regulations do differ. ICAO have their own standards. Here is an example of a document which prescribes airport standards compliant to ICAO Annex 14.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And by a not so amazing coincidence, it just so happens that the parallel runways at SFO are 750 ft centerline to centerline. I've heard that the FAA picked this value for SOIA operations for SFO, but don't have a good cite. $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2015 at 1:05
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That's true! And 750 ft feels darn close when wingtip-to-wingtip on the 28s on a visual. It's probably no coincidence that we use SFO to practice Simultaneous Close Parallel breakouts (in the sim). $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2015 at 1:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The two runways at KBFI seem to have centerlines slightly under 500 ft apart. $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Feb 27, 2015 at 2:44
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, you'll find closer spacing than the FAA recommendations for existing airports. $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2015 at 3:01
  • $\begingroup$ @abelenky But are they allowed to be used simultaneously? You could presumably have two runways ten feet apart if you didn't want to use them at the same time. $\endgroup$ Apr 5, 2015 at 9:30

Based on ICAO doc9157 Aerodrome Design Manuel Part1 Runway, the minimum distance between centre lines of 2 parallel( or near-parallel ) runways is

For Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) operation:

210m for category 3( runway length=1200m-1800m ) and category 4( runway length>1800m )

150m for category 2( runway length=800m-1200m )

120m for category 1( runway length<800m )

And for Instrument flight Condition (IMC) operation:

1035m for independent parallel approaches ( radar separation minima between aircraft and adjacent centre line is not prescribed)

915m for independent parallel approaches ( radar separation minima between aircraft and adjacent centre line is prescribed)

760m for independent parallel departures or Segregated parallel operations (one exclusive for departure and another for landing)

PS: It can be reduced by 30m for each 150m arrival runways is staggered toward arrival aircraft down to 300m between centre line of two runways; and vice versa (but no maximum)

When two runways are closer than the regulations above, only one can be "operated" at the same time (eg: LGW). Even though only one of the parallel runway would be operated at the same time, the separation of the runway have to follow the "Runway strip rule", which is

75m each side from the centre lines for category 3/4

40m each side for category 2

30m each side for category 1

Therefore minimum distance of two parallel runways is the sum of the strips,ie: minimum distance of two parallel 4E/F runways is 75+75=150m from their centre lines.

The above is global standard which represents the minimum requirement of runway , other aviation authorities such as FAA in US may have stricter standard.

  • $\begingroup$ Some countries may have other rules but it is a minimum. $\endgroup$
    – Him
    Apr 4, 2015 at 9:45

The distance between the runways is not the issue. Some of them are just a hundred feet apart.

The issue is that the closer the runways are, the more separation the planes using those runways must have, and the higher the IFR minima.

For example, below is a picture of Oakland International. The two smaller GA runways (28L and 28R) at the top are close together, but when the field is IFR, only one of them can be used for IFR operations. The runway at the bottom (29) is a commercial runway, but it is far enough from 28L that Oakland can have simultaneous IFR operations on 28L and 29.

enter image description here

This page gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect.

  • $\begingroup$ but when you have enough distance, you can land two planes at once. I once was on a flight to Frankfurt, and just seconds before landing, I looked through the right window and saw another plane landing on the parallel runway. After looking at a satellite image, I can assure you that I landed on runway 07L and the other plane landed on 07R. i.imgur.com/mmxS7kr.jpg $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2015 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ yes, that's what I said: "The runway at the bottom (29) is a commercial runway, but it is far enough from 28L that Oakland can have simultaneous IFR operations on 28L and 29" $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Feb 27, 2015 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ Heck, you could have simultaneous landings & takeoffs on 28L & 28R at OAK if the airport was under VFR rules (the centerlines are 1000 ft apart.) I don't know if they ever actually do this, though. $\endgroup$ Aug 29, 2017 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ Yes they do simultaneous ops on them, as well as helis to spot C on taxiway Zulu $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Aug 29, 2017 at 18:57

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