Opinion No 04/2023

Regular update of the aerodrome rules: Aerodrome safety and change of aerodrome operator | Occurrence reporting

The objectives of this Opinion are to:

  • maintain a high level of safety at aerodromes by ensuring that:
    • local runway safety teams (LRSTs) and other aerodrome safety committees are established, led and managed by the aerodrome operator;
    • safety is managed during work in progress and suspension of runway operations and runway closure;
    • closed runways or taxiways, either temporarily or permanently, are appropriately marked to prevent their use by aircraft;
    • locations on the movement area with a history or a potential risk of collision or runway incursions are identified and designated as ‘hot spots’;
    • the use of an aerodrome by an aircraft exceeding the certified design characteristics of the aerodrome is assessed and a prior approval is obtained from the competent authority;
  • enhance the regularity of operations by ensuring a runway is returned to service as soon as possible in case an aircraft becomes immobilised and protect the pavement from excessive damage caused by aircraft that are not appropriate for the pavement strength; these amendments will also address the outstanding ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) findings to EASA in the aerodromes domain and ensure compliance with the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) on the removal of disabled aircraft and overload operations from ICAO Annex 14, Volume I ‘Aerodrome Design and Operations’;
  • facilitate and ensure a safe, efficient and smooth transition when a change of aerodrome operator occurs;
  • align the requirements for aerodrome operators and apron management service providers with regard to reporting, analysis and follow-up of occurrences in civil aviation with those of Regulation (EU) No 376/2014.

The proposed amendments are expected to enhance operational safety, reduce the risk of damage to aircraft and the risk of runway incursions, minimise the risk of collision between aircraft and between aircraft and vehicles, ensure the regularity of operations, and reduce the administrative burden while ensuring safety when a change of aerodrome operator occurs, as well as to support the implementation of effective occurrence-reporting systems.