Opening Remarks Asia-Pacific Regional Runway Safety Seminar
By William R. Voss, President and CEO, Flight Safety Foundation
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to be here again. It’s an honor to be back in Indonesia. I’m so glad that you all were able to join us for this important meeting.
To start, I’d like to dig deeper into accident statistics to show you some important facts about runway safety. It’s clear we have the same representation of runway accident s in this region as others. But this slide allows you to have a good look at that statistic. Forty-five percent of these accidents are associated with runway incursions and excursions which are what we are here principally to talk about.
Even more interestingly, in this region, these types of accidents account for 91% of the fatalities. To repeat — 45% of accidents are incursions or excursion and that one subset accounts for 91% of the fatalities. Seems like we should pay attention to this statistic. But even more interesting, if you look further into how these numbers break out, you’ll see that all of the fatalities in this region — 100% of them — have been associated with runway excursions.
There is a central point to this and it is a point that the Foundation has been working on for more than 5 years in order to raise awareness.
Runway incursions are a serious threat. Any moment of the day we are a second away from another Tenerife where 500 people could die in one incident.
So we can never stop working on runway incursions, but we do have to realize that if we are only focused on incursions, we are missing the point. You have to focus on both incursions and excursions. To do that, you have to work together. That’s why we have this broad representation in this group today.
In order to better understand the situation, you need to look at the operators in this region. Are they having these runway events at home or away from home in the same number? That answer will help us understand a few things — Is it related to the operator? Or is it related to the infrastructure?
The data indicates that the airlines in this region experience runway incidents at about the same rate, whether they are flying at home or outside the region. The next slide sums up that point. You can see that some regions and operators have a very different profile. In North America, for instance, they have their runway incidents away from home. But here in this region, it is balanced.
A great resource in addressing this issue is the Foundation’s Approach and Landing Accident Reduction (ALAR) Tool Kit. Over the next few days, we’ll be examining the information in that tool kit more closely because it shows an important fact — in this region, it would be a mistake to focus on the runway in order to understand why airplanes are having accidents on the runway. Let me explain.
The accidents end on the runway, but they typically begin somewhere else in this region, and they typically begin on approach, so you will be seeing more tools about that in the ALAR Tool Kit. This toolkit has a rich array of information on this topic.
I want to call you attention to one part of the Tool Kit, just to give you a sense of the idea that there are things we can do. We are not helpless in this. Approach and Landing accident risk is five times greater in commercial aircraft flying a non-precision approach compared to those flying a precision approach. In this world of aviation safety, it is a blessing to have a problem that you can reduce by a factor of five by doing one thing and we have that problem in front of us today.
All it takes is approaches with vertical guidance and you save four out of every five accidents that occur on the runway. I wanted to underline this because this isn’t about theories and concepts and five year efforts to change minds and influence the way people think or act. There are things we can do that are concrete today that would change the accident rate in this region tomorrow. We need to talk clearly about what we can do to make that happen.
We are very pleased to be a part of the seminar along with our allies in this battle, ICAO , AAPA and DGAC Indonesia. I thank them all for involving us in this project and I hope that we can partner for future seminar.
In addition, we owe a huge thanks to our sponsors for their financial support, BHP Billiton, Airbus, Boeing, ConocoPhillips, and Zodiac Aerospace ESCO. They aren’t necessarily here because they simply want to sell you things, but because their people are also at risk. And they are also the people who understand these problems and want to be a part of the solutions. So you not only have you navigation services providers, airports, regulators, and operators, you have the industry that uses this infrastructure and have the solutions and they are here to help.
I hope you find this seminar useful and again, thank you very much for this opportunity to address you all today.
Top of page