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Toronto at Pearson Airport needs runways reworked due to "worrying pattern": TSB

The distribution of the runway at Canada's busiest airport increases the risk of collisions of aircraft and should be changed, says the National Aviation Safety Inspector.

The Transport Security Council made this recommendation and two more, as it published a report on 27 cases between 2012 and 2017 when passenger planes did not stop on a line separating the runways from active runways at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

"The Transport Security Committee has made Pearson International a worrying pattern," said Kathy Fox, chairwoman of TSB, at a press conference Thursday. "We recommend an airport office in Toronto [which runs the airport] to make physical changes to the taxiing arrangement. "

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TSB also recommended Transport Canada and the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) demand that standard side pilots be delayed until all active tracks are removed to ensure they keep their eyes on the runways. Eventually, TSB says Nav Canada's air traffic controllers should give more credibility to flight crew orders that they must stop on the line ahead of another runway.

All of Pearson's incidents included the same two of the five runways of the airport after the planes landed on the outer track and began to taxi over the inner runway in the southern part of the airport. Two runways are tightly spaced, parallel and directly connected by sharp curves, design elements that are rarely found at major airports. Direct continuity increases the likelihood that the planes travel through the lane because it is taxiing to the terminal, while the curve trap lines are not the place where crews would expect.

The US Air Force crews were largely involved in incidents. The pilots were instructed in all cases by the air traffic controllers to stop the second runway and acknowledge the order and still continue the line before they were again forced to stop the air traffic control, said Ewan Tasker, Regional Operations Director, TSB, investigating incidents in the aviation, railway, gas and marine industries and makes non-binding recommendations for the elimination of hazards. "The severity of these events ranges from mild to quite serious," he said. "Fortunately, the last lines of defense prevailed."

Mrs. Fox said that none of the intrusion into Pearson led to collisions, but all represented a risk to public security. There are about 445 such incidents per year in Canada.

"Why is this happening?" Mrs. Fox said. "After all, the operation of the Pearson airport is tightly controlled and monitored.In addition to the special instructions of the air traffic controllers to stop and stop another runway, the flight crews receive signals from several lights, warning signs and painted parts on the ground, then professional, highly trained and experienced does the flight crew leave all the impulses behind? Why is this so often? "

Possible physical changes to the arrangement include the construction of a runway between runways that travel around the perimeter or change the design and location of taxis, Mrs Fox told reporters.

Ms. Fox said that TSB looked at 130 airports around the world, including the 60 busiest US airports, and found that Pearson was the only one that had enough space for the intermediate stage between parallel runways but did not have one.

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"Finally, it's up to the GTAA to decide which physical changes are being made." Until these changes are made, we want to see further improvements to increase the visibility of these hold-short positions, as it is clear that more needs to be done to see all flight crews see signals and respond as needed, "Mrs. Fox said.

Canada has 90 days to respond to TSB. FAA and GTAA are not required to respond to the report or to take any action.

In its statement, GTAA said it would review the TSB's recommendations. The airport operator has said that since 2013 it has been cooperating with carriers to reduce such incidents and improve track and runways, which include new lighting systems and backlit signs.

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