International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Airservices consider runway safety to be one of their highest priorities as it remains one of the most serious threats to aviation safety. Airservices continues to work with the aviation industry to improve runway safety.
Runway safety issues can include runway incursions, runway excursions and runway confusion. Improving runway safety requires collaboration from all stakeholders, including ATC, Airports, CASA, Aircraft Operators and anyone else who operates around a runway.
ICAO defines a runway incursion to be “Any occurrence at an aerodrome involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle or person on the protected area of a surface designated for the landing and take off of aircraft” (ICAO Doc 4444–PANS-ATM).
Runway incursions are an ongoing safety concern. There are multiple occurrences in Australia and around the world every month that can result in fatal collisions between aircraft, and aircraft and vehicles. Reducing the number of runway incursions is paramount to improving runway safety.
The following documents can support you to prepare for operating at an aerodrome safely and prevent a runway incursion.
Runway incursion hot spots
Hot spot diagrams are an ICAO endorsed and internationally recognised method of providing information about aerodrome locations that have an increased risk for incursions. The diagrams provide recommendations for ensuring runway safety. Significant hot spots are included in the aerodrome diagrams in ERSA and DAP in the AIP.
Metro D aerodromes
Metro D aerodromes currently account for the highest number of pilot-attributed runway incursion locations. This is due to several factors including the layout, reduced system-level precautions as well as the nature of airspace activity present.
Each aerodrome has a unique set of factors that contribute to the risk of runway incursions. Pilots’ familiarity with these local factors along with compliance with ATC instruction, effective communication and situational awareness can help reduce the risk of runway incursion.
The following documents can support you to prepare for operating at specific aerodromes and prevent a runway incursion
- Tips for Flying - Cambridge
- Tips for Flying - Bankstown (2022)
- Tips for Flying - Moorabbin (2022)
- Tips for Flying - Parafield (2022)
- Tips for Flying - Archerfield (2022)
- Taxiway Confusion Between A3 and A4 at Newcastle Airport
The information in these documents has been informed by Airservices controllers based at each of these aerodromes as well as other team members with operational expertise.
For further annotated versions of the runway diagrams found in the AIP, including the aerodromes listed above and the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, visit:
- Aerodrome manoeuvring maps | Civil Aviation Safety Authority (casa.gov.au)
Runway incursion analysis
Airservices analyses runway incursion data to identify the trends and key contributing factors of runway incursion occurrences.
This kind of analysis helps support our decision-making around safety and informs the industry about current and emerging risks.
Runway Incursion Analysis presentation.
Thorough pre-flight preparation is a good way to ensure safe runway operations.
By solving potential problems before you enter the runway, you reduce the likelihood of runway incursions, runway excursions and runway confusion.
Preparing for safer runway operations
Other runway users
Airside drivers play an essential role in runway safety at all aerodromes. Instances of serious runway incursions have involved airside vehicles; therefore, drivers need to take steps to ensure they are prepared to operate safely around runways.
The Airside Drivers Guide to Runway Safety provides tips on how to:
- avoid an airside incident or runway incursion
- improve airside driver safety
- speak to Air Traffic Control and understand clearances and instructions
- maintain situational awareness.
Local runway safety teams
Local Runway Safety Teams (LRST) are an important component of the global runway safety program. The LRST consists of local representatives addressing local runway safety issues. At some airports the LRST is embedded in another aerodrome meeting, such as the Aerodrome Users Group or Airport Safety Committee.
For more information, view the:
Runway safety checklists
Airservices has developed a Runway Safety Checklist to allow pilots (or aircraft operators), Controllers (or ATC organisations) and aerodrome staff (or airports) to assess their level of runway safety;
Airservices has worked with CANSO and other stakeholders to develop a Runway Safety Maturity Checklist which allows users to benchmark their levels of maturity with regard to managing runway safety risks.
- CANSO Runway Safety Maturity Checklist (PDF) - login is required
In addition to the downloadable version you can complete the Runway Safety Maturity Checklist online by emailing a request for access to firstname.lastname@example.org
Help us to support you
Equip yourself with knowledge of the current issues contributing to airspace infringement in your airspace. Learn current threats, errors, and countermeasures to airspace infringement, as well as lessons learned from past occurrences.
Aviation Resources for Pilots | CASA
Aviation Weather Services | The Bureau of Meteorology
Latest Investigations & Reports | ATSB
Runway Incursion | SKYbrary
Runway Safety Kit | ICAO
Stay onTrack Series | CASA
A Tightening Vice | Flight Safety Australia
Hind Sight 12 - Runway excursion | Eurocontrol
Runway Confusion | Flight Safety Australia
Seeing Red: putting a stop to runway incursions | Flight Safety Australia
Videos and podcasts
View other resources for pilots.
Including Safety Bulletins which provide important advice on emerging safety issues.