Runway Safety Initiative: Runway Excursion Risk Reduction

In May 2009, the Flight Safety Foundation published a report on runway excursion risk reduction, with ACI and other stakeholders from the entire aviation community. ACI strongly recommends airport operators to apply its conclusions, especially the Policies and Standard Operating Procedures for Airport Operators identified in section 6. ACI also recommends its members to have the report studied by the Runway Safety Committee at each airport that they operate.

The Flight Safety Foundation initiated the Runway Safety Initiative (RSI) following a request made by the ACI World Assembly in November 2006. The RSI team initially examined all three main areas of runway safety: incursions, excursions and confusion. An analysis of accident data showed that incursions involving substantial damage are at a low level worldwide with less than one per annum over the last 14 years, whereas Excursions (over-runs and veer-offs on landing and take-off) involving substantial damage are taking place at a much greater rate - about 30 per annum, of which at least two involve fatalities. The Group thus determined that it should focus on runway excursions, given the large amount of attention already devoted to runway incursions.

Notable parts of the report include:
Section 4 identifies risk factors for take-off and landing excursions. These risk factors were traced back to areas under the control of pilots, air traffic management, airports, aircraft manufacturers and regulators. The list below shows those identified for airports:

  • Runways not constructed and maintained to maximize effective friction and drainage 
  • Late or inaccurate runway condition reports 
  • Inadequate snow and ice control plan 
  • Not closing a runway when conditions dictate 
  • Incorrect or obscured runway markings 
  • Failure to allow use of wind-preferential runways 
  • Inadequate runway end safety area (RESA) or equivalent system 
  • Inappropriate obstacle assessments

Section 5 identifies that there are frequently multiple causative factors when accidents occur.

Section 6 contains recommended mitigations, for each of the main players involved.

Section 7 presents overall conclusions and recommendations.

A series of appendices are included at the end of the document.