Answer: Air traffic control will try to use the runway that points toward the wind when possible. Some airport layouts make it much faster for certain runways to be used for landing and others for take off.
The controllers know what configuration works best. The goal of air traffic controllers is to try to expedite the traffic flow while keeping it safe for aircraft.
Answer: Air traffic control prevents airplanes from approaching each other at the same altitude. Airplanes also have traffic avoidance systems that will have one airplane climb and the other descend.
John Cox is a retired airline captain with US Airways and runs his own aviation safety consulting company, Safety Operating Systems.
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