An aerodrome Local Runway Safety Team (LRST) is a key element in an aerodrome runway safety programme. LRSTs should ensure that a strong focus is maintained on runway safety across all parties creating, de facto, an aerodrome level safety management function. At some aerodromes cross-disciplinary teams may already exist that could carry out the functions of the LRST, each using a discrete runway safety agenda. If such teams are employed, it is essential that their work is not duplicated; instead the work should be integrated as part of the aerodrome’s runway safety action plan.
At European aerodromes, the establishment of an LRST is intended to facilitate effective local implementation of the recommendations contained in the European level Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Incursions and Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Excursions and to stimulate proactive management of runway safety.
Specific objectives include
- Identifying potential runway safety issues by reviewing aerodrome practices regularly, and when relevant information is available, from incident investigation findings;
- Developing appropriate risk-prevention measures and creating awareness of potential solutions;
- Advising aerodrome management on runway safety issues and recommending risk mitigation measures;
- Creating a plan containing action items for mitigating runway safety deficiencies. Action items should be aerodrome-specific — that is linked to a runway safety concern, issue or problem at that aerodrome;
- Monitoring the number, type and severity of runway incursions;
- Identifying any local problem areas and suggesting improvements (e.g. by sharing the outcome of investigation reports to establish local hot spots or problem areas and developing workable mitigations with or for operational staff;
- Working as a cohesive team to better understand the operating difficulties of personnel who work in other areas and recommend areas for improvement;
- Ensuring that the recommendations contained in the European action plans for the prevention of runway incursions and runway excursions are implemented;
- Conducting a runway safety awareness campaign that focuses on local issues (e.g. producing and distributing local hot spot maps or other guidance material as considered necessary); and
- Regularly reviewing the compliance of the airfield with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.
As a minimum, the aerodrome LRST should consist of representatives from the main groups associated with take-off and landing operations, namely the aerodrome operator (which could include navigation aids engineers, infrastructure maintenance etc.) Meteorological offices and Aeronautical Information Service providers, representatives from the air navigation service provider, local air traffic controller associations and pilots from aircraft operators, local pilot associations that operate at the aerodrome and other relevant organisations that operate on the manoeuvring area.
Preparing a Runway Safety Programme for an Aerodrome
A runway safety programme should demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the safety implications of several key factors. These include the runway and taxiway layout, the effects of the traffic intensity and mix, the taxiway designations, and both visual and non-visual aids such as markings, lighting and signage. The context provided by AYS procedures, including the use of radar systems and communication of the prevailing runway safety situation through the AIP and through NOTAMS, also should be recognised in the programme.
Each action item should include designation of a responsible person or organisation for completing the item's relevant tasks. There may be more than one person or organisation affected by an action item; however, one person or organisation should take the lead and be responsible for the completion of all the tasks associated with that action item. A realistic time frame to accomplish the tasks should also be associated with each action item.
The aerodrome LRST can also consider the operating procedures employed by different companies at the aerodrome. As noted, one objective for a runway safety programme will be to create or enhance procedures that minimise the risk of runway incursions and runway excursions. Extra care should be taken when examining existing or proposed runway capacity enhancing procedures and noise abatement schemes involving preferential runway systems.
A major lesson learned from aerodrome LRSTs' experiences to date is that it may be unrealistic to presume all flights crews are familiar with local runway procedures. So LRSTs must write their runway safety programme with that basic understanding and corresponding mitigations. Another lesson learned is the likelihood that runway safety difficulties may be encountered at aerodromes where compliance with ICAO SARPs has not been respected.