ICAO forum focuses on runway safety; ACI unveils APEX program

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Published: May 26, 2011

Runway incursions/excursions and other runway-related events account for the largest category of aviation accidents, playing a role in a third of all accidents, according to ICAO, which this week is holding a Global Runway Safety Symposium at its Montreal headquarters.

The event aims to bring together a wide range of ICAO member states and industry participants “to better identify all of the operational and regulatory elements involved in runway safety,” ICAO Air Navigation Bureau Director Nancy Graham said. “We want to come to a common understanding with the various stakeholders on how these all fit together. We will also be setting the stage for regional workshops on runway safety that ICAO and our international partners will be hosting during the next three years around the world.”

Airports Council International World DG Angela Gittens, speaking at the symposium, said her organization is initiating a new safety program called Airport Excellence in Safety (APEX), which is “designed to help airports worldwide to identify and address safety vulnerabilities.” She added, “As ICAO statistics indicate, runway excursions are both the most frequent and the most deadly type of runway accidents that occur. APEX provides a platform to assist our member airports.”

An APEX database for incident information sharing “will be based on a non-punitive, ‘just culture’ environment,” according to ACI. APEX will facilitate a “safety partners’ network” among airports, Gittens noted. “By pairing and partnering within the airport community, we share strengths and knowledge and speed progress on operational and safety management targets,” she said.

ICAO stated that “multiple and interrelated factors enter into all runway accidents, including airport design and construction, air traffic control, air traffic management systems and processes, airline operations, flight crew awareness and communications. An effective runway safety program must be based on multidisciplinary research and solutions.”

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