Air safety falling behind, transportation board says

by | Feb 11, 2013 | News

Compiled by Shazia Islam

Canada is not keeping up with international aviation safety standards and has fallen behind, said the Transportation Safety Board in a video it posted on social media.

According to the TSB video, factors such as “rain, snow, ice, and slush” combined with an airstrip that does not meet international guidelines can result in an aircraft going beyond the reach of the tarmac.

The International Civil Aviation Organization’s directive is a runway end safety area (RESA) of 90 meters as an adjunct to the existing airstrip, but recommends a RESA of 240 meters, according to a runway safety report available on its website.

Toronto Pearson International Airport has complied with the 90-meter ICAO standard, but the runway ends at the foot of a ditch where an Air France A340 Airbus crashed in 2005 after over-running the strip due to extreme weather, according to the Toronto Star.

The TSB told the Toronto Star that airports needed to equip their runways with safety materials that can slow down or stop an aircraft if it overruns.

Barry Wiszniowski, chair of the Air Canada Pilots Association, safety division, told CBC that the “crushable concrete system” should be a requirement on all airfields.

The TSB’s director of investigations-air branch Mark Clitsome told the Star that none of the airports in Canada had installed these “arresting systems”.

Since the TSB published its first ever watch list in 2010 that listed runway overruns as an issue that needed to be addressed, the number of overruns have increased in Canada, said the TSB video.

According to the TSB, there were a dozen overruns in 2010 and nine more the following year.

But TSB spokesperson Kelly James told the Star in an email that “Canada has one of the safest aviation systems in the world”, and that the rate of aircraft accidents has declined.