Maintaining safe runways

From Transport Canada

We set safety standards for runways that consider how they are used in airport operations. We also work with other federal institutions, the Canadian aviation industry, and international organizations to increase awareness of runway safety risks and implement measures to reduce these risks.

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Transport Canada standards

Our runway standards are contained in Aerodrome Standards and Recommended Practices (TP 312). These standards complement Part III (Aerodromes, Airports and Heliports) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

The contents of Part III include, but are not limited to, the following topics relevant to runways:

  • runway threshold and end coordinates
  • runway elevations
  • runway pavements
  • runway slopes and surfaces
  • runway end safety areas
  • taxiways
  • obstacle limitation and identification surfaces
  • wind direction indicators
  • runway markings
  • runway lighting
  • runway signs
  • runway markers
  • runway maintenance

In addition, the Canadian Aviation Regulations outline standards for the safety of airport operations, including:

  • airport wildlife planning and management
  • aircraft rescue and firefighting
  • airport winter maintenance

Runway pavement structural design

Runway pavement has specific structural design and maintenance requirements. Specialized computer software and aircraft load ratings (ALRs) and pavement design/evaluation charts are available. The Canadian Airfield Pavement Technical Group has documentation on airport pavement structural design methods.

Transport Canada actions

We are pursuing various measures to improve runway safety, including developing regulatory amendments and revising guidance materials.

In pursuing such measures, we work with:

  • other federal institutions, including NAV CANADA
  • the Canadian aviation industry
  • international organizations, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Aviation industry responsibilities

The aviation industry is encouraged to identify "hot spots" at airports and aerodromes. These are runway areas with an increased risk of collision or incursion. Once hot spots have been identified, strategies should be implemented to reduce the risk.

Also, the industry is encouraged to reduce runway incursions and runway excursions.

  • A runway incursion involves the unauthorized presence of an aircraft, vehicle or person on a runway.
  • A runway excursion occurs when an aircraft leaves the end or the side of a runway.

We offer various publications on runway incursions and runway excursions.
Airport and aerodrome operators should also study all related Advisory Circulars from Transport Canada.

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