Startling Trend of Runway Incursions: Situation and Solutions

Startling Trend of Runway Incursions: Situation and Solutions

  • April
  • 11
  • 2023
  • Advanced Aircrew Academy

The headline-grabbing close calls in aviation have the industry wondering if these are isolated anomalies or a larger problem across the system. Is it an airport, ATC, or pilot problem? Even though each event was unique, they are all categorized as Runway Incursions, and one of the many breathtaking escapes was within 100 feet of a collision.

As of March, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recorded 686 runway incursions so far in 2023. An incursion is any occurrence at an airport involving "the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle or person on the protected area of a surface designed for landing or taking off." Simply put, it's having an aircraft, vehicle, or person where it shouldn't be.

In response to the startling trend, the FAA Flight Standards division has issued an Aviation Safety Call to Action in Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 23002. While pointing out that the number of incursions hasn't increased, the alert highlights that the potential severity of each incident has intensified. At the core of the discussion is the identification and mitigation of risk that leads up to an incursion. While the variables are complex, the solutions can be found within the proper use of a Safety Management Systems (SMS) and training.

With the pending SMS mandate for Part 135 and 91.147 Air Tour Operators, it focuses on the need for having an SMS as well as the training required within the structure of the program. The recommended action in the SAFO states, "Directors of Operations, Chief Pilots, Directors of Training, Check Airmen, Directors of Safety, Program Mangers, Pilots and Operators should review the following items and consider taking additional steps to ensure operations are conducted at the highest level of safety, including changes to procedures or training, if appropriate." The topics of the recommendations are included in Advanced Aircrew Academy's Runway Incursion prevention module.

After customization, this module satisfies your training program Airman Specific Basic Indoctrination curriculum on all-weather surface operations and airport ground operational safety. During the customization process, Advanced Aircrew Academy can tailor the standard module to the guidance in your Operations Manual related to runway safety.

For line service and mechanics/engineers, Aircrew Academy's Ground Vehicle Access Program module includes training for airport operations and runway incursion prevention. The overall responsibility for the operation of a vehicle on an airport rests with the airport operator. The airport operator may require training for ground personnel to operate in the movement and safety areas of the airport. This module can be used for that training and customized for your specific airport or operation.

If your flight department does not have a formal Safety Management System, Advanced Aircrew Academy can provide you with the core training and, because safety management requires adapting to continual change, we can customize and adapt the module based on feedback of your own risk assessments and mitigation solutions.

Advanced Aircrew Academy has over 100 eLearning modules for pilots, flight/cabin attendants, mechanics/engineers, line service technicians, schedulers/dispatchers, and office staff. To find out how we can solve your unique training challenges, email