Talking Taxiway Safety....Again

Okay, I'm going to claim, tongue-in-cheek, that I told you so. Two years ago, I suggested that the next global initiative should be Taxiway Safety. While Runway Safety was getting and continues to get its due attention, there had been a spate of ground collisions involving large jets at US Airports.

Well, we had a pretty good (in measure, not in benefit) collision in Melbourne on the weekend. A Virgin aircraft decided to kiss a Jetstar jet waiting to approach an air-bridge.

Estimates put the damage bill in the millions. And the US situation appears to have gotten worse. The reasons behind this collision may not be airport-operator related and such incidents are headline grabbers like aircraft crashes.

However, these events can be impacted by airport operator decisions and do run the risk of being costly to the industry - just like bird strikes. As such, we need to be aware of the issues within our control that can impact on such collisions. Things like:

  • taxiway layout and design
  • markings, markers and lights
  • apron area and capacity (are you under pressure)
  • multiple airlines and multiple ground handlers (especially at growing ports)
  • ambient and, possibly, confusing lighting

If these are concerns for you, they need to be in your risk register with appropriate controls in place to address them. And some of these controls might not be quick fixes (like expanding your apron) but that shouldn't stop you putting them in and working towards them.

Good luck and lets hope we can avoid more of these: