Report: One Third of Aviation Accidents Happen on the Ground

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Although air travel remains the safest mode of travel, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced this week that something must be done to reduce the number of accidents caused by runway operations. Mishaps on the runway are “the number-one killer in commercial aviation today,” according one of the agency’s directors.

The Montreal-based group held a Global Runway Safety Symposium this week to address the growing epidemic. Of the 1,429 airline accidents between 1995 and 2008, 431 of them occurred during takeoff or landing, reported The Age. In many of those instances pilot error or poorly designed runways were cited as causes. The ICAO projects a 70% increase in air traffic over the next 10 years, an increase that could mean even more mishaps on the runway.

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Nancy Graham, director of IACO’s Air Navigation Bureau stressed the necessity for different countries to work in collaboration in order to improve safety on the world’s runways. “We need to tap the experience and expertise of all segments of the world aviation community, to come up with the best solutions,” Graham told Montreal Gazette.

One of the longstanding issues is that countries are often reluctant to share aviation data for fear of lawsuits, but Graham suggests that a more cooperative atmosphere could save lives.

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