Runway Safety represents a safe flight from its start to its conclusion. It continues to be one of IATA's highest priorities as it remains one of the most serious threats to aviation safety.
Information analysis is driving change in the area of runway safety.
Our Runway Safety toolkits and reports provide detailed information to enhance runway safety awareness.
Analysis of accident data has identified that the “runway excursion” category, where the aircraft departs the runway during takeoff or landing, is the most common type of accident reported annually.
Runway excursion can result in loss of life, and injury to persons either on board the aircraft or on the ground. It can also lead to damage to aircraft, and airfield or off airfield equipment including other aircraft, or buildings struck by the aircraft.
Runway excursions occur while an aircraft is either taking off or landing. They can be attributed to one or multiple factors ranging from unstable approaches, failure to go around, and the condition of the runway. It is essential that all parties involved (such as Pilots, Air Traffic Controllers, Airport Authorities, Air Navigation service Providers) work together to mitigate the hazards that result in an accident.
Our Runway Excursion resources provide useful and detailed information to enhance awareness of runway excursion and their contributing factors.
At the second Global Runway Safety Symposium in 2017, the global runway safety partners agreed and launched the Global Runway Safety Action Plan. This plan provides recommended actions for all runway safety stakeholders—including airports, aircraft manufacturers, operators, states and ANSPs—to apply runway safety enhancement and risk reduction measures, with an overall goal of reducing global runway safety accident rates.
Runway Safety Implementation Kit
This kit has been developed in line with ongoing cooperative efforts to resolve what remains the number one priority for global aviation safety experts.
Runway Safety Accident Analysis Report
The Runway Safety Accident Analysis Report (pdf) provides an overview of 2010-2014 accidents occurred in the runway environment area, including runway excursions, runway collision, undershoot / overshoot, tailstrike and hard landing events. This report also identifies causal and contributory factors that may lead to a runway safety event and from which preventive measures can be formulated.
Runway excursions, including overruns and veer-offs, were the most frequent with an average of 18 annually worldwide, accounting for 54.7% of all runway safety accidents and 22% of total aircraft accidents in the period.
Unstable Approaches (UA)
This 3rd edition of the “Unstable Approaches: Risk Mitigation Policies, Procedures and Best Practices” has been collaboratively written by IATA, CANSO, IFATCA and IFALPA, to address the problems surrounding unstable approaches, a major contributor to accidents.
The safety data from the IATA Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) accident database show that the approach and landing phases of flight account for the major proportion of all commercial aircraft accidents; 61% of the total accidents recorded from 2012-2016 occurred during the approach and landing phase of flight. Unstable approaches were identified as a factor in 16% of those accidents.
Continuous improvements to stable approach criteria and policy compliance, including the discontinuation of an unstable approach, will reduce the risk of an accident. This new publication emphasizes the importance of pilots, air traffic controllers and airport staff working together, along with regulators, training organizations and international trade associations, to agree on measures and procedures to reduce unstable approaches.
- Access and download a free copy of the IATA Guidance on Unstable Approaches - 3rd Edition (pdf)
UA Risk Mitigation Efforts
Supplementing the 3rd edition of the “Unstable Approaches: Risk Mitigation Policies, Procedures and Best Practices”, IATA has published “Examining Unstable Approaches - Risk Mitigating Efforts”. This report represents the outcome of Unstable Approach Analysis Project, which was originated by IATA and CANSO with the participation of IATA members, manufactures, and safety experts, as well as IFALPA and IFACTA, in response to the rise in UA events that occurred in the early period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This report, which contains Part 1 of the Project, covers:
- Identified issues that can significantly influence the probability of UAs and Safety Risk Assessments
- Agreed recommendations to enhance stable approaches
- Review of the results of the survey which was conducted to investigate the barriers and enablers in the implementation of the 3rd edition of the IATA, CANSO, IFALPA and IFATCA Unstable Approaches: Risk Mitigation Policies, Procedures and Best Practices. The survey responses are also included
- The formation of the Unstable Approach Development and Implementation Team to manage the effective development and adoption of the recommendations mentioned in this report.
This document also contains recommendations addressing:
- Unstable Approach Development and Implementation Team, (Part II)
- A roadmap the outlines the goals of Unstable Approach Development and Implementation Team
- Aircraft Operators
- Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs)
- State/Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs)
Flight Management System
One of the key components of avionics in a modern airliner is the Flight Management System (FMS). An FMS reduces the flight crew’s workload and enhances safety by automating a wide variety of in-flight tasks. However, following the “garbage in – garbage out” principle, an FMS is only as good as the data that is input by the pilot. Pilot data entry errors, especially in performance and navigational data, are potential contributing factors to accidents.
There are many things that pilots, operators and manufacturers can do to reduce the threats and manage the errors associated with operating the FMS, some simple and some more complex. We have published the FMS Data Entry Prevention Best Practices guide for the prevention, trapping and mitigation of FMS data entry errors, to help maintain and improve standards of safety across the industry.
- Access and download a free copy of FMS Data Entry Error Prevention Best Practices guide (pdf)
Standard phraseology reduces the risk that a message will be misunderstood and aids the read-back/hear-back process so that any error is quickly detected. Ambiguous or non-standard phraseology is a frequent causal or contributory factor in aircraft accidents and incidents.
In an effort to align procedures relating to published altitude restrictions on Standard instrument Departure (SID) and Standard Terminal Arrival (STAR), we collaborated with the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) to jointly prepare a separate follow-on survey for airline pilots. The 2015 2nd edition of the Phraseology Conflict – SIDs/STARs survey report (pdf) on potential misunderstanding is an extension of the 2011 Phraseology Survey.
This edition tackles the Phraseology Conflict: SIDs/STARs survey report on potential misunderstanding as an outcome of the survey to identify risks associated with the problem, taking into account the inconsistent implementations of SID/STAR provisions globally – leading to the development of harmonized recommendations that address those risks.
- Access and download a free copy of the Phraseology Report - 2nd Edition (pdf)
Phraseology: Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers Phraseology Study
Together with the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA) and the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA), we have prepared on-line surveys regarding communication issues. These focused on the non-use of ICAO standard phraseology. A report was published presenting analysis and results of all surveys as well as identifying areas where established phraseology, or local phraseology, has been, or has the potential, to be misunderstood.
- This comes together in the Phraseology Pilots and ATC Study Report (pdf)