WHAT DO THE NUMBERS ON A RUNWAY STAND FOR?
The numbers on every runway in the world are based on a magnetic compass bearing. The figures indicate the direction of approach in relation to the magnetic pole. If a runway has a magnetic orientation of 183 degrees, for example, it will be marked with the number 18. For that reason, runways are always numbered between 01 and 36. However, because the Earth’s magnetic field is on the move, airports frequently have to change the numbers on their taxiways. “If the magnetic field lines move so that the approach direction is 186 degrees, the runway number would be changed to 19,” explains aviation expert Jörg Handwerg.