Pearson Ground Procedures Scrutinized

The Transportation Safety Board is launching a special review of operations at Pearson Airport in Toronto trying to get to the bottom of a series of runway incursions. Some of the close calls could have developed into serious accidents and the TSB wants to know what can be done to stem the unusual rate of occurrences. The TSB is the first to say that the mistakes, so far, have been caught in time and haven’t been serious in themselves but might be a symptom of systemic errors in the airport’s operation and the flight crews’ reaction to navigating the massive airport that could be better.

“That’s something we need to look at in all these events, what the crews were doing, who was doing what, who was looking where,” Ewan Tasker regional manager for air investigations for the TSB told the Toronto Star. There have been more than 20 incursions or close calls at Pearson in the last five years and while it’s not statistically significant for an airport that does hundreds of movements a day, it’s also the most heavily monitored facility in Canada and the mistakes need analysis. “We’re very aware of a broader systemic issue,” Tasker said. “Some of the worst aviation disasters in history have been due to a runway incursion of sorts. So it’s a very serious issue.”