News release

Watchlist issue of risk of collisions on runways highlighted in August 2014 occurrence at Winnipeg International Airport

Winnipeg, Manitoba, 21 December 2015 – The Watchlist issue of risk of collisions on runways is highlighted as the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A14C0112) into the August 2014 runway incursion at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba. There were no injuries, and no damage to aircraft or airport property.

On 4 August 2014, the ground controller at the Winnipeg International Airport cleared a WestJet DHC-8 operating as WestJet Encore Ltd. to taxi for departure via Runway 31 and to hold short of Runway 36. The DHC-8 crew acknowledged the clearance to hold short of Runway 36. The tower controller then observed that the DHC-8 had entered the Runway 36 protected area at the intersection of Runway 31. The tower controller then instructed a WestJet Boeing 737, which was on final approach for Runway 36, to conduct a go-around. The Boeing 737 followed the instructions to conduct a go-around, and subsequently landed without further incident.

The TSB investigation found that the hold-short line painted on Runway 31 was significantly degraded, with 123 feet of the line missing. The crew of the DHC-8 was actively looking for the hold-short line as the primary reference for the hold-short position and was slowing the aircraft. They did not see it and stopped in the runway protected area. The investigation also concluded that the daily airport inspections did not identify the degraded condition of the hold-short line, allowing the continued use of the hold-short position. Further, the orientation of the runway holding position signs was optimized for traffic on Runway 31, which likely contributed to the pilots not identifying the hold-short position.

The risk of collisions on runways has been identified as one of the risks to Canada's transportation system and is included on the TSB's 2014 Watchlist. The Board is calling for the implementation of improved procedures and enhanced collision warning systems at Canada's airports.

Following the occurrence, the Winnipeg Airport Authority Inc. (WAA) repainted the degraded hold-short line on Runway 31 and realigned the runway guard lights. The WAA has also incorporated new procedures for return to service inspections and computer-based inspection tracking software that contains checklists and intervals for inspections.

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