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"Many Caribbean, Latin America airports lack safety zones"

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By Alan Levin, USA TODAY
Many of the busiest airports in the Caribbean and Latin America lack basic safety features that could have prevented the recent crash of an American Airlines jet in Jamaica, according to pilots, aviation safety experts and public documents.
No one died when the American Boeing 737-800 slid off a wet runway and slammed onto an adjacent rocky beach on Dec. 22, but dozens were hurt and the jet's fuselage was torn open in several places. It was the most serious accident involving a U.S. carrier since 50 people died in a commuter plane crash near Buffalo on Feb. 12.
As a result of a string of similar crashes in this country, Congress and U.S. regulators have required airports to install safety zones at the end of each runway by 2015 to minimize the chances of damage when a jet skids off the pavement.
However, despite years of pressure from the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), few airports south of the border have built safety zones. Each year, 23.6 million people travel from the U.S. to these destinations, according to the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
"The problem has been there for a long time and it cuts into the margin of safety," said Bill Voss, president of the non-profit Flight Safety Foundation.

The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents more than 50,000 pilots, has long called for safety enhancements at these airports. "It's a huge concern that these (accidents) continue to occur, and we want to do what we can to mitigate that," said union safety chief Rory Kay.
Like many airports in island resorts, Kingston's Norman Manley International Airport was built in a harbor and is hemmed in by water. After leaving the runway, the American jet dropped off an embankment, sped across a roadway and plopped onto the adjacent rocky beach.
At least 29 commercial airports in the Caribbean and Latin America lack adequate safety zones at the end of runways, according to a Sept. 29, 2009, report by the ICAO. The organization, which has been pushing for safety upgrades for years, wrote that the list of deficient airports "is still very extensive."
Airports on the list include some of the Western Hemisphere's most-visited vacation destinations, such as Cancun in Mexico and St. Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles. They also include such South American capitals as Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Guatemala City.
Manley airport's runways also do not have grooved pavement, according to Oscar Derby, director general of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority. The grooves allow rainwater to flow off more quickly, giving aircraft tires more traction when pilots apply the brakes. Virtually all large U.S. airports have grooved runways.
After the accident, American's pilots union, the Allied Pilots Association, posted a list of airports without grooved runways where the carrier lands. Out of 53 airports the union listed in the region, 45 lack grooved runways, according to the posting.
The Airports Council International branch representing Latin American and Caribbean airports did not respond to requests for comment.
As in most runway accidents, the actions of the American pilots will be closely scrutinized. The pilots touched down 4,000 feet from the start of the runway, well past the optimal landing zone, the Jamaican authority said.
Several serious accidents have occurred at airports in this region in recent years. On July 17, 2007, 187 passengers and crew aboard a Brazilian domestic flight died along with 12 people on the ground when it skidded off a runway at São Paulo-Congonhas Airport, slamming into a warehouse and bursting into flames. The airport has no safety zones, and its runway was not grooved.
Five people were killed on May 30, 2008, when a TACA Airlines jet skidded off a runway in Tegucigalpa. The jet struck cars on a road just off the airport.
Because many older urban U.S. airports, such as Chicago's Midway, are hemmed in by development, airports have turned to new technology to improve safety. Zodiac Aerospace ESCO makes a foam bed that can be placed at the end of a runway that safely stops planes that skid too far. The firm has installed 50 of the foam devices around the world, but none in the Caribbean or Latin America, said Kent Thompson, vice president for airport sales.


Maybe a contributing factor at best I would think.
Call me crazy but LGA, OAK and SFO have no safety zone either. The runway goes pretty much right to the drink.

Yep. Several ALPA carriers went out of business in the last 5-7 years or absorbed (TWA). Oh yeah, and one dishonorable group that had agreed to binding arbitration and when they did not like the results left. Funny thing is that they still have not changed the binding results even after many trips to court. Only thing they have accomplished is delaying the inevitable while ensuring a bottom feeder contract and a shrinking airline both on the domestic front as well as international.

The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents more than 50,000 pilots, has long called for safety enhancements at these airports.

ALPO only represents only 50,000 pilots ??? Didn't it used to be over 60,000 or 65,000.......


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