Runway Incursion Prevention - Aerodrome Stop Bar Operating Policy

Runway Incursion Prevention - Aerodrome Stop Bar Operating Policy


Following a serious runway incursion incident, a European aerodrome operator is requesting support from the aviation community to inform the installation of a new aerodrome stop bar system and reviews of its stop bar operating policy and stop bar HMI design specifications. The aerodrome has multiple interconnecting runways and currently stop bars are operated H24/7 for the ‘active’ runway in use only.

ICAO References

ICAO Definition of Runway Incursion (ICAO Doc 9870) “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 Annex 14, Volume I - 5.3.19

Note 1. “The provision of stop bars requires their control either manually or automatically by air traffic services.”

Note 2. “Runway incursions may take place in all visibility or weather conditions. The provision of stop bars at runway holding positions and their use at night and in visibility conditions greater than 550 m runway visual range can form part of effective runway incursion prevention measures.”


EAPPRI Rec 1.2.15 (Aerodrome Operator): “Regularly review the operational use of aeronautical ground lighting e.g. stop bars, to ensure a robust policy to protect the runway.”

EAPPRI Rec 1.4.3 (Aircraft Operator): “Ensure that flight deck procedures contain a requirement for specific clearances to cross any runway. Includes non-active runways.”

EAPPRI Rec 1.5.8 (ANSP): “Ensure that air traffic control procedures contain a requirement to issue a specific clearance to cross any runway. Includes non-active runways.”

Note: These EAPPRI recommendations are included in ICAO Doc 9870.


Stop bars were originally conceived for use during low visibility conditions. However, some aerodromes operate their stop bars permanently as an additional ‘safety net’ to help prevent runway incursions. Although the Annex 14, Volume I - 5.3.19 Note 2 above supports this general notion, not all aerodromes/ANSPs have adopted this stance and stop bar operating policies vary considerably and are inconsistent. For instance, at some aerodromes with multiple runways, during periods when stop bars are in operation, they are used only for the ‘active’ runway(s) and not for the other ‘inactive’ runway(s) whilst at other aerodromes they are operated for all runways irrespective of operational status.

Support Requested

Aerodrome operators and air navigation service providers at aerodromes with multiple runways are kindly invited to provide the following details concerning their stop bar operating policy:

  • The periods of stop bar operation, e.g. H24/7, LVP only, night.
  • Whether stop bars are used only for the ‘active’ runway(s) in use and/or for other ‘inactive’ runways.
  • ATC clearances relating to accessing/crossing ‘inactive’ runways – with and/or without the corresponding use of stop bars.
  • Any other relevant information, e.g. operability/functionality of stop bar control panel, selectively switch-able stop bars, workload issues (is there a dedicated aerodrome lighting controller or are stop bars operated by the Tower/Ground controller?), automation, Red stop bar crossing warnings, links to other runway protection systems etc.

Aircraft operators and national aviation authorities are also kindly invited to share their experiences and preferences related to stop bar operating policy.


Further Reading


© European Organisation for Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) March 2013. This alert is published by EUROCONTROL for information purposes. It may be copied in whole or in part, provided that EUROCONTROL is mentioned as the source and to the extent justified by the non-commercial use (not for sale). The information in this document may not be modified without prior written permission from EUROCONTROL. The use of the document is at the user’s sole risk and responsibility. EUROCONTROL expressly disclaim any and all warranties with respect to any content within the alert, express or implied.


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