Rise in runway excursions concerned Russian authorities

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Russian air safety authorities had expressed concern over an increase in runway excursions three weeks before the fatal overrun at Moscow involving a Red Wings Tupolev Tu-204.

The federal aviation service Rosaviatsia issued a bulletin to regional oversight organisations on 7 December cataloguing eight excursion events in the space of less than four weeks, all involving large transport aircraft.

These included, coincidentally, a landing by a Red Wings Tu-204 on 5 November during which the aircraft had touched down long while performing an instrument landing system approach to runway 26L at Ekaterinburg.

It landed 1,134m (3,720ft) past the threshold but the calculated landing distance of 1,800m was greater than the 1,566m remaining. Rosaviatsia says the captain had "belatedly understood" the threat of an overrun and, as a result, the aircraft stopped 32m beyond the runway end.

On 1 December a Yakutia Boeing 737-800 failed to stop within the length of runway 22 at Rostov-on-Don, despite the use of brakes and reverse thrust.

While there were no injuries, says Rosaviatsia, the aircraft stopped some 80m off the runway end with damage to fan blades.

There were also excursions involving a UTair 737-800 at Ufa, which rolled 120m beyond runway 14L on 18 November, and other incidents in which aircraft had departed the runway while landing.

Rosaviatsia stressed in the bulletin that it had recorded 20 events for the year to date, a figure which had already "significantly increased" compared with the previous year's total of 12, and that airline and airport managers needed to adopt necessary measures to prevent such incidents.

Two weeks after the bulletin, on 20 December, a Red Wings Tu-204 overran at Novosibirsk and, just over a week later, another of the carrier's aircraft overran fatally at Moscow Vnukovo, on 29 December.

Investigators are still studying the circumstances which led to the overruns, although immediate regulatory attention has focused on clarifying thrust-reverser procedures.