The safety of passengers in aircraft and people who are in and around airports depends on aircraft and airport operations. The safety of passengers in an aircraft does not only depend on the mechanical condition of the aircraft, but also the operations of the airport. Therefore, airport operations such as regulation of aircraft, controlled use of runways, hazard notification, and communication procedures determine the safety of passengers and people within the vicinity of an airport. When accidents occur in an airport, they affect both passengers and people who are within the reach of the accident. According to Jorna (1999), about 80% of aircraft accidents occur during landing and taking off (p.1). This implies that airport operations and environment critically determine the safety of passengers and people who are in or live around the airport. Therefore, what hazardous conditions affect airport operations, and threaten the safety of passengers and people who are within the vicinity of the airport?
Since the airport is a transport terminus that holds a lot of passengers and goods, it attracts economic activities such as the construction of Storey buildings. Storey buildings located around airports have the capacity to influence wind direction and create turbulence winds that pose a great threat to aircraft when landing and taking off. Jorna (1999) argues that Storey buildings around an airport affect airport operations and control of aircraft during landing and taking off because they change the direction of winds and cause whirlwinds, which can potentially cause accidents (p.5). When accidents occur during landing or taking off due to turbulence winds, an aircraft can lose control and may land into nearby buildings killing people who are on board and those who are in the buildings. Therefore, Storey buildings around airports pose a great risk to the safety of passengers and people who are in and around the airport.
Increasing traffic of aircraft in airports also poses a safety threat to both passengers and people around the airport. Currently, the increase in aircraft traffic overrides the rate of expanding airports, which forces airport operators to increase the frequency of taking off and landing as a means of reducing traffic and enhancing the capacity of airports. Overstretched airport capacity increases the probability of accidents since pilots do not have ample time to make calculated landing and takeoff. According to Futamata (2010), during peak operation of the airport, airport operators consider increasing the frequency of aircraft landing and takeoff to enhance the capacity of runways and airports at the expense of safety (p.9). Therefore, the increased frequency of taking off and landing of aircraft threatens the safety of passengers and people in or around airports.
Noise as an environmental issue has created a dilemma in the airport industry given its contradicting aspects of pollution and safety. Noisy aircraft are a source of pollution that affects the hearing ability of both the passengers and people within the vicinity of airports. When aircraft are landing or taking off, they produce deafening noise that does not only affect hearing ability but also causes a disturbance. Hence, noise is a critical factor that determines the designs of aircraft and limits the expansion of airport capacity across the world. Contrastingly, measures meant to address the issue of noise pollution threaten the safety of aircraft during landing and taking off. According to Airport Council International (2009), landing and taking off procedures such as delayed gear, continuous descend, and reduced flap approaches aimed at reducing noise pollution pose significant safety concerns (p.3). Thus, the safety of passengers and people within the airport hangs on a delicate balance between noise pollution and safe landing procedures.
Airport Council International. (2009). Airport Safety. International Civil Aviation Organization, 1-5.
Futamata, M. (2010). Problems and Solutions in the Implementation of Safety Management System: Creating an ‘Airport Safety Culture’ and the Role of Airport Operator. Central Japan International Airport Company, 1-16.
Jorna, P. (1999). Safety in and Around Airports. European Transport Safety Council, 6, 1-8.