Runway excursions: Part 1 - A worldwide review of commercial jet aircraft runway excursions


Over the last decade there has been a noticeable reduction in the number of non-fatal and fatal accidents involving the worldwide commercial jet aircraft fleet. Despite this, runway excursions continue to remain prevalent, accounting for approximately a quarter of all incidents and accidents in air transport, and 96 per cent of all runway accidents. Runway excursions involve aircraft running off the end of the runway (overrun) or departing the side of the runway (veer-off).

A number of catastrophic runway excursions occurred across the world in 2007 and 2008, resulting in hundreds of fatalities and significant property damage in communities adjacent to the airport. This report, the first in a two-part series, provides a statistical picture of runway excursion accidents over a 10-year period - how frequently they occur, why they occur, and what factors contributed to those accidents.

A search of the Ascend World Aircraft Accident Summary identified 141 runway excursion accidents involving the worldwide commercial jet aircraft fleet between 1998 and 2007. Those accidents resulted in 550 fatalities. Of those 141 accidents, 120 occurred during the landing phase of flight. An in-depth analysis of those 120 accidents was conducted in order to identify the types of flight crew technique and decision-related, flight crew performance-related, weather-related, and systems-related factors that contribute to runway excursions.

Fortunately, Australia has not experienced a runway excursion accident of the severity of those seen overseas. However, given the proximity of Australia's major airports to urban residential and industrial areas, Australia is not immune. Since 1998, three excursions of Australian-registered commercial jet aircraft have been investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. While two of those incidents were relatively minor, one incident involving a runway overrun in Thailand resulted in substantial damage to the aircraft.

Type: Research and Analysis Report
Author(s): Taylor, R.P. Hughes, K. Godley, S.
Publication date: 2 April 2009
ISBN: 978-1-921602-25-2
Publication number: AR-2008-018
Last update 18 July 2016