GAPPRE: Going the extra mile in runway safety
In January 2021, a group of more than 40 organisations, led by the Flight Safety Foundation and EUROCONTROL, presented the first volume of the work undertaken over the past 2 years. The release of the document has only suffered a delay of 2 months, despite the pandemic, proving once again the aviation’s ecosystem commitment to the mantra “Build Back Better”.
The Global Action Plan for Prevention of Runway Excursions (GAPPRE) comes eight years after the original European Action Plan for Prevention of Runway Excursions (EAPPRE). However, as it can be also noted from the slight change in title, this recent release was taken to a whole new level: the number of organisations involved has more than doubled compared to the 2013 document and the guidelines have worldwide applicability, also influenced by the leadership of the Flight Safety Foundation, as well as the involvement of many non-European or international organisations.
How did GAPPRE come to be?
According to industry statistics, runway excursions are the most frequent type of accident, being one of the key areas considered as serious risks in aviation. In the month before writing this article there have been at least three runway overruns in Business Aviation worldwide. Furthermore, it is assessed that, from all the possible safety occurrences, runway excursions have one of the highest economical impacts on a company.
Runway excursions are a jointly owned risk that requires joint solutions. The industry came together, within six dedicated working groups representing airport and aircraft operators, air traffic management, manufacturers, air navigation service providers and regulators, to discuss and agree on what are the most important actions to address the runway excursion risk.
What makes GAPPRE a success?
Considering the complexity of such an incident and all the possible parties involved the solution could only be found by addressing the contributing factors in a synchronised and collaborative manner.
The specificity, which might contribute to a successful uptake, is that GAPPRE is an initiative “by the industry for the industry” – by involving all links in the ecosystem, the document has a holistic approach to improving runway performance and safety.
What does GAPPRE mean for the aviation industry?
The document paves a robust roadmap towards achieving a higher level of runway safety, gathering recommendations for different time horizons, some requiring up to ten years for technology maturation and implementation.
An unprecedented level of consensus has been reached on every single one of the recommendations, showing a unanimous endorsement by all aviation key players. The whole industry will be benefit from this bonding exercise which put together a set of selected solutions that have been proven to be effective in reducing the risk of runway excursions, based on data analysis and lessons learnt.
The actions proposed go beyond simple regulatory compliance, providing functional recommendations that enable the industry to go the extra mile in their approach to managing runway excursion risks.
Volume II of GAPPRE, scheduled to be released in late February, will provide explanatory and guidance material, and related best practices for the recommendations listed in this first volume.