PORT VILA, Vanuatu: Eight Pacific civil aviation authorities, including Pacific airports representatives, participated in an expert airport runway safety training webinar organized by the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) on Thursday 25 June.
The specialist training was designed to support and practically prepare PASO States civil aviation authorities and airports for mandatory International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) runway condition reporting requirements, ahead of a worldwide implementation deadline of 5 Nov 2020.
The PASO airport runway safety training was specific to wet weather conditions experienced by Pacific airport runways and looked at how to report runway surface conditions in real-time.
Around 35 participants from PASO States civil aviation authorities and their airport authority runway and aerodrome safety teams from the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu were introduced to the new international standardised methodology in the PASO online training webinar.
The training opportunity came about at the special request of three PASO Member States, the Cook Islands, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands, in recognition that “hands-on instruction” on the ICAO requirement was needed by their civil aviation staff in order for their runways to be compliant with the international standard on time.
Made possible through funding from the World Bank, the training was purposefully tailored for Pacific States and conducted with their aerodrome environment and challenges in mind by PASO aviation specialist, Mike Haines from Wellington.
“PASO has been actively supporting ICAO in sharing information and communicating to Pacific Member States to create awareness about the new ICAO runway reporting requirements,” said PASO Operations Manager, Mr. Netava Waqa.
“We are encouraging airports and civil aviation authorities to start their preparations now for timely implementation of the ICAO worldwide Annex 14 Global Reporting Format (GRF) standard.”
“The ICAO GRF implementation is a joint challenge. States need to ensure that airports are prepared and ready to comply by 5 November, and their operators also need to take all the necessary steps to be able to begin using the new GRF information in their flight planning by the deadline,” said Mr. Waqa.
PASO is currently working with Pacific Member States to chart their implementation progress for meeting the ICAO requirements and to identify assistance they may need from PASO to meet the ICAO reporting before the implementation deadline. The practical training also provided advice to States on actions to take if they cannot meet the ICAO implementation deadline.
ICAO introduced the GRF for runway condition reporting in 2015 to address aircraft incidents related to contaminated runways due to water, snow and ice.
“The ICAO requirement aims to ensure a consistent global process with a standard method of real-time reporting runway surface conditions so aircraft performance during take-off and landing can be determined accurately, allowing the aircrew to make the right decisions to ensure passenger and aircraft safety,” said Mr. Waqa.
Runway excursion, where an aircraft veers or overruns the runway, is one of the top three causes of accidents globally and the new GRF is a key enabler to prevent runway excursion. The GRF provides a standard method of reporting runway surface conditions across the globe for aerodromes, air traffic control, pilots and aircraft operators.