What phraseology is normally used for "runway 03 R" by air-traffic control and pilots?

A couple of possible options I came up with:

  • runway zero three R
  • runway three R
  • runway zero three right
  • runway three right

Is there any standard or preference of one form or the other to reduce confusion during communication?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are you asking about a specific country? The US has a different practice here from the rest (?) of the world. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, in the US that would be "Runway Three-Right" rather than "Runway Zero-Three-Right." $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


Runway 03 R would be pronounced as

Runway Zero Three Right

As ever, although British, I thoroughly recommend CAP 413 the UK's Radio Telephony manual:


It's mostly ICAO compliant and barring small differences, should contain plenty of information for most operations. You'll see all runways are stated using two digits. Unfortunately I can't find an example of parallel runways in there.

One important note

Runway Zero Three Right

Designates runway 03R, as opposed to runway 03L.


Runway Zero Three Righthand

Designates runway 03 and a right hand circuit. Very different things! In real life the chance of confusion is fairly slim, but it's worth noting.

Is there any standard or preference of one form or the other to reduce confusion during communication?

Absolutely. Considerable effort has gone into the standardisation of air traffic communications in order to decrease the risk of misunderstanding. Page 6 onwards of CAP413 above goes into excruciating detail about how to utilise numbers, for example.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wouldn't the number '3' be pronounced as 'tree'? IIRC there is this convention to prevent the speaker from blowing into the microphone when making the 'th' sound. $\endgroup$
    – Nijin22
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 12:10
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ It would, I didn't write it phonetically though perhaps I should have. Though to be honest, I find a lot of people don't use the phonetic alphabet for numbers $\endgroup$
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 12:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .