DGCA issues circular to prevent runway incursions after Haneda airport incident

The DGCA has issued a circular in view of the collision of planes due to runway incursion at the Haneda airport in Japan last month.

New Delhi: To prevent instances of runway incursions at airports, aviation watchdog DGCA has asked stakeholders to put in place a runway safety team at all airports and adopt technologies to improve situational awareness, among other measures.

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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a circular in view of the collision of planes due to runway incursion at the Haneda airport in Japan last month.

Apart from establishing a runway safety team at all aerodromes and ensuring their effective functioning, the regulator has emphasised on comprehensive training for pilots, air traffic controllers, aircraft maintenance engineers, and drivers operating inside an airport.

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Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) should ensure that stop bars are switched on to signal a stop and switched off to indicate traffic may proceed. In no case, aircraft or vehicles be instructed to cross illuminated red stop bars, DGCA said in a release on Monday.

Further, the watchdog said that aerodromes, ATCs and airlines should implement contingency measures to cater to unserviceable stop bars.

Another recommendation is adoption of technological interventions to improve situational awareness, thereby assisting Air Traffic Control (ATC) and other stakeholders to identify the traffic within the manoeuvering area.

Other recommendations include ensuring adherence to standard procedures by all involved personnel/stakeholders, and recognising the influence of human factors on performance, which may contribute to runway incursions.

The rate of runway incursions are decreasing and by ensuring a proactive approach among all stakeholders, the risk of such incidents can be reduced further, according to DGCA.

In a fatal incident on January 2, a large passenger plane and a Japanese coast guard aircraft collided on the runway at the Haneda airport and burst into flames. Five people onboard the plane of the coast guard were killed.

The incident happened due to runway incursion by Japanese coast guard’s DHC-8 aircraft when Japan Airlines aircraft was in the process of landing.

Following the incident, DGCA undertook a review of its existing requirements and safety measures in place for runway safety and prevention of runway incursions.

In August last year, a mishap was averted at the Delhi airport involving two Vistara planes as the air traffic controller inadvertently gave clearance for crossing and take off of two different aircraft on the same runway at the same time before cancelling the take off.

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