Airport Runway Markings and Signs Explained

19 September 2020, 11:03

Our dear readers! Aircraft Technic crew is starting a new series today. In this series we are going to investigate and learn markings and signs on airport runways and taxiways. We are going to make 3 episodes and the final one will mention about airport lighting systems. Lets start with Episode 1: Runway. Fasten your seatbelts!

Runway Designators

Runway numbers and letters can observe from the approach direction. It is based on the magnetic heading of the runway centerline. The letters differentiate between left (L), right (R), or center (C) parallel runways.

Runway Centerline Marking

The runway centerline identifies the center of the runway and provides alignment guidance during takeoff and landings. The stripes are 120′ in length with 80′ gaps.

Runway Aiming Point Marking

The aiming point marking serves as a visual aiming point for a landing aircraft. These two rectangular markings consist of a broad white stripe located on each side of the runway centerline and approximately 1,000 feet from the landing threshold.

Runway Touchdown Zone Markers

The touchdown zone markings identify the touchdown zone for landing operations and are coded to provide distance information in 500 feet (150m) increments. These markings consist of groups of one, two, and three rectangular bars symmetrically arranged in pairs about the runway centerline.

Runway Side Stripe Marking

Runway side stripes delineate the edges of the runway. They provide a visual contrast between runway and the abutting terrain or shoulders.

Runway Shoulder Markings

Runway shoulder stripes may be used to supplement runway side stripes to identify pavement areas contiguous to the runway sides that are not intended for use by aircraft. Runway shoulder stripes are yellow. 

Runway Threshold Markings

Runway threshold markings come in two configurations. They either consist of eight longitudinal stripes of uniform dimensions disposed symmetrically about the runway centerline or the number of stripes is related to the runway width.

Demarcation bars

Delineate displaced runway thresholds from unusable pavement such as blast pads, stopways, or taxiways that precede the threshold. A demarcation bar is yellow since it is not located on the runway.


Yellow markings aligned with the runway that show pavement areas that are unusable for landing, takeoff, and taxiing.

Runway threshold bars

Delineate the beginning of runways when a threshold has been relocated or displaced.

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