Debrief: Toe the CORRECT Line: Airport Vehicle Corridors

by Currie Russell, Safety and Security Supervisor, Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF)

At many airports, particularly those with commercial air service, vehicle corridors are painted on the aprons to allow for the safe and orderly flow of service vehicles on airside. These corridors are painted to resemble roadways, with solid white lines on either side, and a dashed line down the middle to separate them into two opposing lanes. The primary role of vehicle corridors is to help ensure adequate separation of service vehicles from aircraft on parking stands.

On a number of occasions, I have observed small aircraft taxiing along the vehicle corridor while transiting our main terminal apron. I have also witnessed aircraft parked so close to our vehicle corridors that their wingtips were over the solid white line. These practices defeat the safety factor that vehicle corridors seek to provide.

This safety factor is determined by the code or class of aircraft the airport is designed to handle. In Canada, the Manual of Aerodrome Standards and Recommended Practices (TP312E) specifies the distance required from the centreline of a taxilane to any object in order to ensure adequate clearance for taxiing aircraft. This distance is related to the airport’s design aircraft code number.

For example, as shown in the table below, which uses the specifications listed in TP312E, airports that are designed to handle Code C aircraft (aircraft with a wing span of 24 m up to but not including 36 m, and an outer main gear wheel span of 6 m up to but not including 9 m, such as the Airbus A320 or the Boeing 737) must provide separation of 24.5 m from the centreline of a taxilane to an object.

Recommendation: the following minimum separation distances should be provided between the centre line of an aircraft stand taxilane and an object:

Clearance (from centreline of taxilane to an object) Wingspan Outer Main Gear
Wheel Span
Example Aircraft Types
A 12.0 m Up to but not including 15 m Up to but not including 4.5 m Most light single
and twin engine GA aircraft
B 16.5 m 15 m up to but not including 24 m 4.5 m up to but not including 6 m Beech 1900
Cessna Caravan 208
C 24.5 m 24 m up to but not including 36 m 6 m up to but not including 9 m Airbus A320
CRJ 900
D 36.0 m 36 m up to but not including 52 m 9 m up to but not including 14 m Boeing 757, 767 
E 42.5 m 52 m up to but not including 65 m 9 m up to but not including 14 m Airbus A330, 340
Boeing 747, 777, 787

Aircraft should always taxi along the solid yellow taxi lines and should never use a vehicle corridor to pass another aircraft. The vehicle corridors are to be used only by vehicles that don’t take to the air.

When driving in the corridors, vehicle operators should remember never to pass behind an aircraft that has its anti-collision lights operating and engines running, unless the marshaller grants permission by waving them on. The speed limits, as specified in an airport’s local traffic directives, must always be respected. A vigilant watch for moving aircraft and other vehicles must be kept and attention to weather conditions is required when driving. Vehicle operators should ensure that they have received proper training and that they are certified to operate the class of vehicle they are required to drive in the course of their duties. Airports will likely require operators to possess a permit (usually an Airside Vehicle Operators Permit [AVOP]) for driving on airside. Vehicle operators must verify that their rotating beacon is operating and that they are in contact with ground or apron control, as applicable at their respective airports.

Hazards are everywhere on airside. Vehicle operators must be airside aware, exercise vigilance at all times and report hazardous conditions or activities to a supervisor or airport operator. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Don’t give accidents the opportunity to occur. Be proactive!

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