Runways and island operations in the Torres Strait

Date published: 9 November 2022


Safety regulations require that the minimum take-off and landing distances calculated by an aircraft manufacturer have a safety buffer added.

Torres Strait island

These rules have been in place for decades and apply internationally.

Runway safety buffers provides a margin of error to account for issues like unexpected weather conditions, poor runway surfaces, aircraft performance or pilot skill.

Safety buffers are determined by adjusting the actual runway distance by using a ‘factoring’ multiplier. This factoring increases the minimum runway length required based on the type of operation and the aircraft.

There has been no change to the rules for factoring and runways which increases the runway length required.

Regulatory detail

Part 135 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations was introduced on 2 December 2021. It sets out the rules for air transport operations in small aeroplanes and incorporates the rules that were previously known as Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 20.7.4, including those factoring requirements.

A small change was made as part of the rule transition which allows slightly shorter runways to be used for take-off in some circumstances.

The new rules also allow an operator to make an application to use reduced factoring (and shorter runways) if additional safety measures are put into place – for example additional pilot training, or limitations on weather conditions.

An operator can apply for an exemption or approval on its Air Operators Certificate provided it can satisfy CASA that operations to affected aerodromes still meet acceptable safety requirements.

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