This standardized runway reporting format will enhance aviation safety worldwide

Commercial airliner lands to runway on winter day, runway landing lights lit on. Runway is three kilometers long main runway in Helsinki-Vantaa airport Finland. Airplane is Airbus A320. The photo is taken from the high cliff next to the airport where landing planes flying at low altitude over.

The ICAO Global Reporting Format (GRF) for assessing and reporting runway surface conditions, which became applicable worldwide today, will help mitigate the risk of runway excursions, which continue to be the most common form of an aviation accident. The harmonization of the assessment and reporting of runway surface conditions will not only benefit runway safety, but also efficiency and sustainability, through a better planning of contaminant removal and the more effective use of de-icing and other treatments.

“Early implementation by a number of pioneer States has confirmed the benefits and suitability of the GRF,” declared ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar, noting that the operational experience gained during the upcoming winter, rainy, and monsoon seasons in various parts of the globe will provide important opportunities to review and enhance implementation.

The GRF comprises a number of elements:

  • A harmonized matrix through which a trained observer allocates runway condition codes and descriptors;
  • A Runway Condition Report (RCR) containing the above information, which is transmitted to flight crew;
  • The flight crew’s correlation of the RCR with aircraft performance data, enabling them to calculate their take-off or landing performance; and
  • A facility for flight crew to provide observations of runway surface conditions.

During the run-up to the applicability date, ICAO has worked closely with its Member States, regional offices and industry bodies to ensure that the necessary capacity-building resources have been made available. This includes building awareness, through some 35 seminars and webinars, delivering computer and instructor-led training courses, providing additional guidance and clarifications, and developing tools to help with implementation.

Current reporting indicates that implementation is still ongoing in many States. However, ICAO anticipates that the rollout will accelerate in the coming weeks and months, and continues to assist States to achieve progress toward the truly harmonized reporting of runway surface conditions.