Call for rule change after Newcastle plane overshoots runway safety zone

Ruth Doherty
Call for landing rule change after Newcastle plane 'misses runway'
Call for landing rule change after Newcastle plane 'misses runway'


Investigators are calling for changes to be made in the way pilots land in bad weather, after a plane over-shot the runway safety zone at Newcastle Airport.

The 189 passengers on the Thomson Fly plane were returning to Newcastle from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands when the aircraft went over the safety zone during landing, before stopping on the paved surface, back in November 2010.

According to Chronicle Live, they were told 15 minutes before it was due to land that there was too much snow on the runway.

Passengers were informed that the aircraft had enough fuel to circle the airport while teams on the ground worked to clear the runway and, if the landing attempt failed, they would head to Edinburgh instead.

But the pilot was given the green light to land the plane after it was reported that there was just 2mm of snow.

Inspectors from the Air Accident Investigation Branch were quick to point out that its recommendations were targeted at improving guidelines nationally, and did not hold Newcastle Airport staff liable for any wrongdoing.

It called for clearer guidelines on measuring snow as the current measuring systems used by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and European Aviation Safety Agency actually differ.

They have asked the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to publish a clearer definition of a "contaminated runway", while another recommendation is that the CAA develop a clearer system of measuring snow that provides accurate and timely runway contamination information to enable pilots to determine the landing distance required.

Last November, another aircraft narrowly avoided disaster after landing on the taxiway rather than the runway by mistake in Cyprus.

And just this month, a plane carrying more than 140 people narrowly missed nearby houses when it overshot the runway at an airport serving one of the Philippines' most popular tourist destinations.

An Airphil Express Airbus A320 plane from Manila ended up 60 metres over the edge of the runaway next to housing after it overshot its landing at the airport in Kalibo, on the island of Panay, in the central Philippines, according to AFP.

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