Runway excursion is the most frequent accident type in aviation, represents one of the most serious risks in aviation and is one of the most economically significant safety events. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) 2020 Annual Safety Review categorizes runway excursions as one of the top two key risk areas for large aeroplanes.
An International Air Transport Association (IATA) study of incident and accident data found that from 2005 through the first half of 2019 approximately 23 percent of the accidents in IATA’s global accident database involved runway excursion. It has been estimated that the direct cost of runway excursion events in 2019 was more than US$4 billion. Data shows that the industry has been effective in reducing the rate of commercial aviation runway excursion accidents, but the absolute number of accidents and incidents and their severity indicate a very high risk.
Runway excursion risk is a complex combination of factors involving different segments of the aviation industry including operators, airports, aircraft manufacturers and air navigation service providers. Mitigating the risk is best done cooperatively among the stakeholders. The complexity of runway excursion prevention efforts is derived from the fact that the effect of the risk and resilience factors is highly cumulative – runway condition maintenance and reporting; aircraft performance and operations; collaborative approach path management; and adherence to robust policies for safe descent and approach planning, stabilised approach, safe landing and go-around all play roles.
The Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Excursions (GAPPRE) was developed by an international group of aviation professionals from more than 40 different organisations divided into six working groups. The work was coordinated by EUROCONTROL and Flight Safety Foundation (FSF). GAPPRE was reviewed and validated by EASA, IATA, the Civil Air Navigations Services Organisation (CANSO) and Airports Council International (ACI).
GAPPRE comprises 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. Some of the recommendations can be addressed and implemented right away and others will need to be developed over time.
GAPPRE is divided into two parts.
Part 1 contains the agreed recommendations to aerodrome operators, ANSPs, aircraft operators, aircraft manufacturers, regulators and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and research and development recommendations for States, international organizations and the industry. Also included is a list of abbreviations and acronyms. Part 1 originally published on its own in January 2021.
Part 2 contains guidance and explanatory material, as well as best practices, that support the recommendations. The development of the material in Part 2 was based on the following principles:
- Provide further context to the targeted audience in order to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations contained in Part 1.
- Provide explanation, wherever possible, of the recommendation drivers.
- Incorporate advice for both normal and non-normal operation within the GEMs targeted at the operational actors.
- Use the principles of conservatism and defence in depth.
- Address organisations as Aircraft Operators, Airports and ANSPs rather than individuals like pilots and air traffic controllers.
The guidance and explanatory material is not intended to be limiting or prescriptive. It is based on best practices and materials shared by the industry in support of the GAPPRE implementation. The authors caution that the boundaries set by national regulators and internationally accepted provisions should be respected.
An expanded version of GAPPRE, containing both Parts 1 and 2, was published in May 2021 and can be downloaded below or from Flight Safety Foundation's website.