Runway Safety, including runway excursions, runway incursions, tail strikes, and hard landings, is a critical aspect of aviation operations, and reducing Runway Safety-related accidents remains one of the top priorities for IATA.

IATA plays a crucial role in this domain by fostering collaboration among various stakeholders in the industry. Through joint efforts with its Member Airlines, Airports, Regulators, Air Navigation safety Providers, Aircraft Manufacturers, other International Organizations, etc, and by harnessing a data-driven approach, IATA seeks to develop and implement safety strategies, which are designed to mitigate risks associated with runway safety.

Runway Excursions

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.

Runway Safety Action Plan - Collaborative Efforts

The Global Runway Safety Action Plan (GRSAP) emerged through a collaborative effort with Runway Safety Partners and was launched during the 2017 Second Global Runway Safety Symposium. The GRASP offers a set of recommended actions tailored for various stakeholders involved in runway safety, including airports, aircraft manufacturers, operators, states, and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs). The primary objective of the GRSAP is to reduce the global rate of runway excursions and runway incursions, thereby enhancing overall runway safety. The latest development in this collaboration is the release of the second edition of the GRSAP in February 2024.

IATA has been actively collaborating with various industry partners to enhance runway safety by addressing the risks associated with runway excursions, incursions, tail strikes and other events associated with runway safety. The development of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Excursions (GAPPRE) and the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Incursions (GAPPRI) is evidence of a collaborative effort with IATA playing a crucial role in their review and validation process.

GAPPRE and GAPPRI as well as GRASP comprise a set of consensus-based recommendations representing industry best practices and interventions that go beyond regulatory compliance. The recommendations address both risk and resilience factors. The recommendations enclosed in these documents are addressed to aerodrome operators, aircraft operators, air navigation service providers, aircraft manufacturers, regulators and the International Civil Aviation Organization. Included are also research and development recommendations that are addressed to states, international organizations and the industry.

​Run your own Runway Safety Analysis 

The IATA Annual Safety Report provides analysis of aviation accidents, including the Runway Safety end states. To delve into the specifics, one can utilize the interactive features of the report by selecting the runway safety end states and applying filters like timeframe, aircraft propulsion, and region of operators. This allows for a tailored examination of the data, offering insights into trends and patterns that can inform safety improvements.

Runway Safety Prevention 

The IATA Annual Safety Report is a comprehensive platform that provides the capability of analysis of various runway safety-related accidents. It includes a section (or a tab) on Threat and Error Management, which focuses on identifying factors contributing to runway safety accidents. This section also provides the user with the capability to select a range of accident categories, including runway excursions, tail strikes, runway damage, and hard landing end states. The report also features a Recommendations for Accident Prevention section, which outlines strategies and measures to enhance runway safety and prevent accidents in aviation. 

For those interested in further exploring these aspects of the IATA Annual Safety Report, the document is accessible online and provides valuable insights for operators, pilots, and other stakeholders in the aviation community to improve safety standards and protocols. Some of the Runway Excursion recommendations have also been followed up by a Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP). The Runway Excursion DIP is meant to help the industry reduce runway excursions. It complements  the recommendations from these documents:

Unstable Approaches (UA)

The 3rd edition of the IATA Guidance on Unstable Approaches  is the result of collaboration with CANSO, IFATCA and IFALPA, to address the problems surrounding unstable approaches.

The safety data from the IATA Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) accident database shows that the approach and landing phases of flight account for more than half of commercial aircraft accidents with 61% of the 2012-2016  accidents, of which unstable approaches were identified as a factor in 16% of accidents

Continuous improvements to stable approach criteria and policy compliance will reduce the risk of an accident. Other factors of improvements will come from pilots, air traffic controllers and airport staff working together, along with regulators, training organizations and international trade associations to agree on measures to reduce unstable approaches.

UA Risk Mitigation Efforts

Supplementing the Unstable Approaches Best Practices, the Examining Unstable Approaches - Risk Mitigating Efforts report represents the outcome of an analysis project originated by IATA and CANSO with the participation of IATA members, manufacturers, and safety experts, as well as IFALPA and IFACTA, in response to the rise in UA events in the early 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
  • Results of the survey conducted to investigate the barriers and enablers in the implementation of the  Unstable Approaches: Risk Mitigation Policies, Procedures and Best Practices.
  • 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

The Flight Management System (FMS), a key component of a modern airline avionics, reduces the flight crew’s workload and enhances safety by automating many in-flight tasks. However, an FMS relies on the data input by the pilot. Pilot data entry errors, especially in performance and navigational data, are potential contributing factors to accidents.

The FMS Data Entry Prevention Best Practices guide helps improve standards of safety across the industry.


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 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 IFALPA on a survey for airline pilots which resulted in the 2015 edition of the Phraseology Conflict – SIDs/STARs survey report (pdf)

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.

Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers Phraseology Study

Together with IFALPA and IFATCA, we have prepared on-line surveys regarding communication issues and non-use of ICAO standard phraseology. This report presents these surveys results and identifies areas where established phraseology, or local phraseology, has been, or has the potential, to be misunderstood.

> Download the Phraseology Pilots and ATC Study Report (pdf)