Canada Issues Recommendations Following Incursion Study

 - February 4, 2019, 12:39 PM

A Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigation into 27 runway incursions that occurred between June 2012 and November 2017 at the two closely spaced parallel runways at Toronto Pearson International Airport has led the agency to issue four recommendations. All of the incidents happened on the inner runway (06L/24R), after the aircraft had landed on the outer runway (06R/24L), had been instructed by ATC to hold short of Runway 06L/24R. Despite intending to stop, the pilots missed the visual cues depicting the runway holding positions.

The study acknowledged that the taxiway layout between the runways has characteristics that are “uncommon compared to those at other airports, both within North America and internationally.” Additionally, the runways are spaced a “relatively short distance [1,000 feet] apart,” and the rapid exit taxiways (RETs) provide direct access to the adjacent runway “without first progressing to another transitional surface.”

U.S.-based airlines that operate regional jets were involved in 63 percent of the incursions. The study concluded this “disproportionate number was likely due to foreign flight crews being unfamiliar with the uncommon taxiway layout and to the increased speed at which their smaller aircraft types often approached the runway holding positions.” No business jets were involved.

As a result of its investigation, the TSB recommended that: the airport make physical changes to the taxiway layout to address the risk of incursions and; until these changes can be made, make improvements to increase the conspicuity of the runway holding positions; the FAA and the Canadian DOT work with operators to amend procedures so that post-landing checks are sequenced only after landing aircraft are clear of “both parallel runways”; and that Nav Canada amend its phraseology so that safety-critical transmissions “are sufficiently compelling to attract the flight crew’s attention.”