Runwaysafety is one of the most vital aspects of airport safety and has forlong been a concern of the aviation industry(Goetsch, 2011).However, recently the issue has taken center stage globally. Runwayincursions, excursions and confusion are a major safety concern andcost the aviation industry $ 1 billion annually for repairs, injuriesand suspensions. Runway incursions are instances on the runway thatrisks collision of an airplane when landing or taking off. Runwayexcursions are hitches that occur when an aircrafts departs therunway while runway confusion involves an error of a single aircraftwhen it unintentionally uses the wrong runway to land or take-off.
Thoughthe specter of airline crashes in-flight is more dominant in thepublic perception of the main risks of air travel, ground safetyshould not be undermined(Wells & Rodrigues, 2001).Runway incursions and excursions are often caused due to acombination of various straightforward factors such as poorvisibility, inadequate paint lines, heavy traffic and congestion inairports, bad weather, poor lighting, confusion and poor flight crewexecution(Wilke & Majumdar, 2012).In response to the growing concerns over runway incursions andexcursions, several international organizations have come together toform the Flight Safety Foundations Authority (RSI).
Planning,development and implementation of measures to increase runway safetyrequires special tools, knowledge and expertise. Operators need tounderstand the performance of the Airplane Function Manual (AFM).Mostly, landing data in the AFM is not required to consider variablessuch as runway slope and high pressure altitudes as correspondence tolanding distance data. Therefore, operators are required tounderstand the certification criteria and also consider underlyingfactors. Operators should also be able to implement landing distancepolicies effectively. Additionally, Local Teams shouldbe able to use collaborative efforts.
Toguide such efforts, the International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO) has brought in safety initiatives that are aimed at reducingrunway-related accidents. These initiatives, such as runway safetyseminars, are part of action plan or solutions being put up by theorganization to prevent runway incursions and excursions. Theseminars, which will be held differently around the world, will helpdevelop effective action plans and in formation of runway teamssafety teams. In addition to such initiatives, the organization incollaboration with governments and airport authorities has developedtraining workshops and multidisciplinary guidance materials to helpoperators and air navigation service providers. According to Livack(2010), other recommendations include confirmation that all runwayoperation’s infrastructure, procedures and practices are in linewith ICAO provisions, initiation of local safety awareness campaigns,joint training to pilots, air traffic controllers and operators onprevention of runway incursions and excursions and finallycommunicationof the takeoff Run Available (TORA) or the landing Distance Available(lDA).
Severalstudies have also been conducted to study emerging trends and includethem in action plans(Abeyratne, 2011).A recent sharp increase in air traffic has resulted to increasedrunways incursions. Consequently, this has led o development of toolkits to guide the situation. Such toolkits include the Manualon the Prevention of Runway Incursions,Document 9870 and the RunwayExcursion Risk Reduction Toolkit. Anexample of such actions plans developed is the EuropeanAction Plan for the Prevention of Runway Excursions.
Suchaction plans and principles developed take place immediately such asthrough putting up of runways suitable for landing and taking off,putting up of appropriate visual and navigation aids and keepingup-to-date information of meteorological observations and runwayconditions. With implementation of such measures in the action plansand provision of correct information to flight crews, runwayincursions and excursions will be a thing of the past.
Abeyratne,R. (2011). Ensuring global runway safety: a look at the future. Airand Space Law,36(6),427-440.
Goetsch,D. L. (2011). Occupational Safety and Health for Technologists,Engineers, and Managers.
Livack,G., Pufahl, A., & Evans, T. (2010, May). Improving runway safety:A solution and its associated challenges. In IntegratedCommunications Navigation and Surveillance Conference (ICNS), 2010(pp. 1-25). IEEE.
Wells,A. T., & Rodrigues, C. C. (2001). Commercialaviation safety(Vol. 3). McGraw-Hill.
Wilke,S., & Majumdar, A. (2012). Critical factors underlying airportsurface accidents and incidents: A holistic taxonomy. Journalof Airport Management,6(2),170-190.