Runway Breach: What Pilots Need to Know  

Runway breaches are one of the most serious safety issues in the aviation industry. They occur when an aircraft, vehicle, a person or anything is on a runway without authorization. This can lead to a collision between two airplanes or even a crash if a plane takes off or lands on the wrong runway. To prevent these dangerous incidents, pilots must understand what constitutes a runway breach and how to avoid them. The article will explore everything about runway incursion.

What is a Runway breach?

A runway breach is defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as “any occurrence at an aerodrome involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle or person on the protected area of a surface designated for the landing and take-off of aircraft.” This includes unauthorized entry onto a taxiway, runway, or other restricted areas. It also consists of any situation where two aircraft are approaching each other on the same runway.

The European Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Incursions (EAPPRI) states that there are three main types of runway breach: unintentional (such as when pilots make mistakes), intentional (when someone deliberately enters a restricted area), and external (when objects such as wildlife enter a restricted area). Unintentional incursions are the most common type, accounting for around 80% of all incidents.

Causes Of Runway Breach/Incursions

There are many potential causes of runway breaches, including pilot error, poor communication between air traffic control and pilots, inadequate signage or lighting at airports, inadequate training for pilots and air traffic controllers, and inadequate airport design. In some cases, poor visibility due to weather conditions can also be a factor.

In addition to these factors, fatigue can also play a role in causing runway breaches. Studies have shown that fatigue can impair decision-making skills and increase risk-taking behavior among pilots and air traffic controllers. As such, both groups need to get enough rest before performing their duties to reduce the risk of making mistakes that could lead to an incident.

How To Prevent Runway Breaches 

Pilots should be aware of local regulations to prevent runway incursions and familiarize themselves with airport layouts before flying. They should also pay close attention to air traffic control instructions while taxiing on runways and double-check their position before taking off or landing.

Air traffic controllers must be adequately trained in local regulations and special procedures. They should maintain clear communication with pilots throughout all phases of flight to ensure clarity about which runways are active.

Finally, airports should invest in technology such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) systems, allowing air traffic controllers to monitor aircraft movements more accurately than ever before. These systems provide real-time data about each plane’s location, which can help prevent collisions between planes on different runways or taxiways by alerting controllers if two planes get too close together.


Runway incursions can pose a serious risk to aviation safety, so pilots and air traffic controllers need to be aware of the potential dangers. Pilots must familiarize themselves with local regulations regarding airport operations before flying into unfamiliar airports, while air traffic controllers must maintain clear communication with pilots throughout all phases of flight. Additionally, airports should invest in technology such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) systems that precisely monitor aircraft movements. With proper education and training, these measures can help ensure that our skies remain safe for everyone.