While Canada’s aviation system is one of the safest in the world, Transport Canada continues to look for innovative ways to achieve an even greater level of safety. In recent years, the department has devoted a great deal of effort to understanding how aviation accidents happen. Through extensive research and consultations with safety experts throughout the world, we have concluded that the most effective way to reduce aviation accidents is to adopt a systems approach to safety management—an approach that helps identify hazards, assign responsibilities among stakeholders, and reduce associated risks.

As Sharing the Skies so ably demonstrates, the systems approach is a crucial tool for managing hazardous interactions between wildlife and aircraft in the vicinity of airports. For example, some land-use activities near airports—such as waste-disposal sites—attract high-risk bird species and, therefore, directly impact aviation safety.

Transport Canada strives for the holistic, proactive management of wildlife hazards by applying the system safety approach to engage all airport-area stakeholders, including community leaders, waste-disposal companies, farmers, airport authorities and airline operators. Transport Canada is also developing performance-based wildlife planning and management regulations for airports—regulations that offer airport operators maximum flexibility to determine methods of compliance. In addition, and in light of research that shows a direct correlation between airspeed and bird-strike severity, other Transport Canada regulations were amended to reduce departure airspeeds to 250 knots for aircraft operations below 10,000 feet MSL (mean sea level).

I am proud to present the second edition of Sharing the Skies. First published in 2001, this industry guide is another crucial tool in Transport Canada’s systems approach to managing safety. Sharing the Skies has been well received throughout the aviation industry. I believe this is compelling evidence not only of a growing appreciation for the risks associated with wildlife in airport environments, but also that Sharing the Skies is succeeding in raising awareness of an important safety issue.

Merlin Preuss
Director General
Civil Aviation

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