In light of the two recent incidents where aircraft landed roughly 1000 ft short of their intended runways, Air Canada AC-624 at Halifax and Asiana OZ-162 at Hiroshima, I started thinking the definitions used when labeling them.

At least in the first case, the airline labeled it a runway excursion. Given that the airplane never actually exited the runway (it touched down short and slid onto the runway), I'm a little confused, what is the definition of a runway excursion? If an aircraft never actually comes in contact with the runway, is it still a runway excursion? At what point does it simply become an off airport landing?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In the case of the OZ flight, it technically would be CFIT followed by a runway excursion, I suppose. Same for their crash at SFO. In both cases, they crashed into the ground short of the runway (CFIT,) slid onto the runway, then skidded off of the runway (runway excursion.) $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Apr 15, 2015 at 16:38
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I still think "runway excursion" sounds like a nice Sunday afternoon stroll. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Apr 16, 2015 at 0:49

1 Answer 1


It depends.

Skybrary says

The Runway Excursion category includes also two types of occurrences which do not fit the ICAO ADREP definition for a runway excursion, however considered appropriate for inclusion due to the commonality of a number of causal and contributory factors and/or mitigation approaches:

  • An aircraft attempting a landing touches down in the undershoot area of the designated landing runway within the aerodrome perimeter.
  • A runway or taxiway other than the designated one is used for a take off or a landing.

My emphasis.

The European Commercial Aviation Safety Team (ECAST) in the European Strategic Safety Initiative (ESSI) use the Skybrary definition when writing about Runway Excursion Prevention

Articles within the Runway Excursion Category in SKYbrary:

  • Overrun on Take Off
  • Overrun on Landing
  • Directional Control
  • Undershoot on Landing
  • Wrong Runway

My emphasis.

In an article "Language and safety issues" in Eurocontrol's magazine in 2011, Bert Ruitenberg wrote:

The whole idea of putting a label such as “runway incursion” or “runway excursion” on a safety occurrence is to make it easier to file the data from the event somewhere and to compare it with similar occurrences. With the definitions above, a take off from a taxiway would be considered as a Runway Excursion when the Skybrary definition is used, but not with the other RE definitions (and rightly so, I say, better label it a “taxiway take off”). Moreover, in the ICAO definition, the B777 undershoot at Heathrow would not be a RE, but with the Skybrary definition it would be. Dear Safety Managers of the world, there still is a lot of work to be done...


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