Opinion 03/2019

Runway safety

The objective of this Opinion is to mitigate the safety risks associated with runway safety, from an aerodrome’s perspective, focusing mainly on the prevention of runway incursions and on runway surface condition assessment and reporting, but also addressing issues such as ground collisions, runway configuration, foreign object debris(FOD)-related occurrences as well as runway pavements maintenance.

This Opinion proposes amendments to existing organisation and operational requirements of Regulation (EU) No 139/2014, as well as the introduction of new ones, which are based on ICAO provisions contained mainly in International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annexes 14 and 15, recommendations contained in the European Action Plans for the Prevention of Runway Incursions and Excursions (EAPPRI, EAPPRE), as well as safety recommendations addressed to EASA by the Accident Investigation Boards of Norway and Sweden, and also safety recommendations which are not addressed to EASA. It is also provides for alignment with ICAO Annex 14 Volume I ‘Aerodrome Design and Operations’ 8th Edition and ICAO Doc 9981 ‘Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Aerodromes’ 2nd Edition, as regards runway surface condition assessment and reporting which will be applicable worldwide by November 2020. Furthermore, the Opinion proposes consequential amendments to Regulation (EU) 2017/373 and Regulation (EU) No 923/2012.

In particular, the Opinion proposes amendments to the framework for the operation of vehicles at aerodromes, including the authorisation of drivers and the conformance of vehicles operating on the manoeuvring area with certain safety prerequisites, in order to ensure runway safety. Linked to this is also the proposal for a new requirement on communications, as well as a proposal for the control of pedestrians at the aerodrome. In addition, the Opinion proposes all the necessary requirements to support the application of the new Global Reporting Format (GRF) of runway surface conditions, including changes to the contents of METAR and SNOWTAM forms and of the special air-report.

Moreover, new requirements are introduced regarding the handover of activities and the provision of relevant information, NOTAM origination, aerodrome snow plan, aerodrome maintenance, aircraft towing and FOD control programme, as well as changes to existing requirements related to surface movement guidance and control systems (SMGCS) The proposed amendments are expected to improve safety by reducing the number of runway-safety-related occurrences from an aerodrome’s perspective. In addition, it is expected that some of the amendments will improve harmonisation as a result of the introduction of new common requirements that do not currently exist.

The proposed amendments will ensure alignment of the current EU aerodrome regulatory framework with the relevant aerodrome-related ICAO provisions of Annexes 14 and 15, PANS-ATM and PANS-Aerodromes and support the rules proposed by Opinion No 02/2019 in regard to aeroplane performance requirements for commercial air transport operations.