Low risk doesn’t mean no risk

ISSN 2369-873X

27 March 2013
Posted by: Mark Clitsome

The risk of collision on a runway is fairly low. But low risk doesn’t mean no risk, certainly not in light of recent events.

Since mid-March, TSB investigators were deployed to the scene of two near-collisions. On March 11, a maintenance van at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport rolled onto an active runway where an Air Canada Embraer 190 was landing. Just one week later, on March 19, two snowplows were almost hit by a Kelowna Flightcraft Boeing 727 as it was about to take off from the Hamilton International Airport.

Thankfully, no one was hurt, but these near-misses should serve as a reminder of what could have been.

From 2001 to 2009, over 4100 of these incidents were reported in Canada. In fact, since the risk of collisions on runways was first placed on our Watchlist in 2010, these incidents have only increased in number. Despite our repeated call to action, little has changed.

The bottom line is this: if airport procedures and collision defences aren’t improved, the safety of Canadians will continue to be left at risk. And that’s a risk Canadians simply can’t afford to take.

Risk of collisions on runways


Image of Mark Clitsome

With a Diploma in Flight Technology, an Airline Transport Pilot License and over 8000 hours of flying experience, Mark Clitsome joined the TSB in 1993 and became the Director of Air Investigations in 2008. He has participated in many of the Board’s high-profile investigations as a senior member, including the Swissair, MK Airlines and Air France investigations. Mark is studying to become a sommelier and has two boys in hockey that keep him busy watching games.

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