Following its investigation of 18 flight-related incidents and accidents on runways under construction, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has issued a recommendation that Nav Canada publish notams with graphic depictions of runway closures so the information communicated about these hazards is more easily understood. Currently, notams in Canada are published only in text format and do not include graphics, “which can hinder the effective communication of information,” the study concluded.
The events at airports in Quebec and Nunavut examined in the investigation occurred when the width of the runway was reduced, rather than the length, to allow for construction work without closing the runway. The TSB also expressed concern with the adequacy of regulatory surveillance of airports undergoing construction activities.
“Our investigation revealed an important systemic issue: the lack of Canadian standards or official recommended practices to be followed during airport construction,” said TSB chair Kathy Fox. “This lack of operational safety standards can leave pilots without sufficient visual aids to clearly distinguish the closed parts on the runways.”
The investigation also found issues with the safety management systems (SMS) in place at the airports under review. Despite the fact that all these airports had an SMS, the investigation identified that they were “not effective at proactively managing the risks” associated with construction projects.