Terms of reference for the National Runway Safety Group

1. Purpose

The National Runway Safety Group (NRSG) is a State Safety Programme (SSP) hazard-specific working group and has been established to facilitate State-level visibility and continuous improvement in safety performance, specific to runway safety in Australia.

2. Context

Runway safety is a global safety priority. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) and Global Runway Safety Action Plan (GRSAP) urge States to maintain efforts for reducing runway safety occurrences such as runway incursions, runway excursions and runway confusion. Runway safety is also a key element of Australia’s SSP. It is also a common area of safety focus across the Australian aviation industry and the controls for runway safety risks require the coordinated effort of aerodrome operators, aircraft operators / pilots, air navigation service providers and regulatory authorities.

3. Objective

ICAO through the GRSAP strongly promotes and recommends the establishment of Local Runway Safety Teams (LRST) at aerodromes as an effective means to reduce runway related accidents and incidents. The NRSG performs a national advisory and coordination role to promote the establishment and effectiveness of LRSTs and utilise intelligence from these forums and other sources to develop and implement national strategies to improve runway safety. It brings together industry stakeholders that have a common goal in enhancing runway safety in a collaborative forum.

4. Scope

The activities to be undertaken by the NRSG include:

  • reviewing Australia’s progress in adopting the recommendations in the ICAO GRSAP including the establishment and performance of LRSTs
  • collaborative analysis and amalgamation of data related to key runway safety risk factors
  • development and promotion of programs to address identified safety risk factors through knowledge sharing, promotion, education and empowerment
  • promotion and enhancement of existing runway safety initiatives and forums, such as LRST
  • sharing of lessons learned, success stories and/or safety issues of national significance identified from LRSTs or similar forums.

5. Outcomes – action and outcome focused

The NRSG will focus on the following areas:

  • issues identified during the implementation, promotion and participation of effective LRSTs across aerodromes
  • the improvement and continual promotion of runway safety at Metropolitan (Metro) D and other ab-initio training aerodromes
  • the risk of unstable approaches at capital-city airports to address the precursor to runway excursions – via a preventable go around sub-working group
  • standardisation of terminology to enable ongoing sharing of runway safety performance and risk information across the industry
  • fostering shared mental model for runway safety.

The following runway safety related occurrences should be considered in the safety performance data set:

  • Runway Incursion
  • Runway Excursion
  • Abnormal Runway Contact
  • Ground Collision
  • Loss of Control on the Ground
  • Collision with Obstacle(s)
  • Undershoot / Overshoot
  • Runway Confusion
  • Aerodrome
  • Wildlife / Birdstrike*

* NOTE: Wildlife related data, while highly relevant to runway safety, is specifically considered in a separate dedicated national SSP Working Group; the Australian Aviation Wildlife Hazard Working Group (AAWHG).

The NRSG will:

  • ensure the outputs from the NRSG support existing industry priorities and initiatives, and align with the ICAO guidance
  • promote the exchange and analysis of data and information to identify and prioritise runway safety issues which need to be considered nationally
  • maintain a central information-hub of runway safety performance information
  • integrate the safety value of LRSTs at the national level
  • increase the shared understanding of aerodrome, aircraft and air traffic services operational issues which could impact on runway safety performance
  • ensure the participation and commitment of key stakeholders, and foster strong working relationships among NRSG members.

6. Current membership

Membership of the NRSG is intended to enable broad industry participation in the identification, development, implementation and promotion of runway safety initiatives at national and local levels and within the members’ own organisation. It is imperative that NRSG members are able to actively engage in NRSG activities and safety initiatives and be in a position to influence change in their own organisation.

  • CASA (chair and coordination staff)
  • Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development
  • Airservices
  • Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)
  • Defence
  • Australian Airports Association (AAA)
  • Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
  • Australian Airline Pilots Association (AusALPA)
  • Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA)
  • Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus)
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS)
  • Airport operators (incl. capital-city, Metro-D and regional airports)
  • Airlines
  • Major flying schools/training organisations

Note: as the NRSG is deliberative rather than decision-making by nature, there is no requirement to establish a quorum necessary to conduct meetings.

7. Administration

The NRSG will meet bi-annually, with sub-group meetings as required.

Chair: The NRSG will be chaired and coordinated by CASA.

New business/issues/topics for discussion: Any new matters for discussion or consideration at the NRSG should be provided via a ‘paper’ and shall be provided to the attendees in a timely manner (ideally one week prior to the meeting).

Venue: The NRSG will meet at a location deemed convenient and cost-effective for NRSG members. Sub-working groups may utilise existing industry forums/mechanisms and/or electronic communications to progress work activities and meet at suitable agreed locations as required.

Agenda: Individual agenda will be developed for each meeting and provided to members in a timely manner (ideally one week prior to the meeting).

Finance/budget: No specific or central budget exists for the NRSG; as such, any costs associated with attendance or participation in the Group including any sub-groups is an individual/organisation responsibility.

8. Reporting

The NRSG, as a hazard specific SSP working group, will provide information only copies of outcomes (generally in the form of Minutes) to the SSP Cross Agency Team (SSP-CAT). This reporting is intended to inform the SSP-CAT of the status and performance of runway safety at a national (big-picture) level.

9. Recommendations and referrals

On occasion, matters may arise that are considered by the NRSG as being nationally significant and may require further or higher consideration. In these circumstances the NRSG may advocate these specific matters formally to the SSP-CAT for consideration and escalation as required.

SSP-CAT may also request support, guidance or advice from the NRSG with regard to specific identified runway safety issues as required.

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