Debris on an airfield’s runways, taxiways and ramp areas poses safety hazards to individuals, aircraft and other equipment and can lead to accidents. To mitigate the hazards caused by foreign objects, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires airports to have a Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Management Plan.
“Anything can create an issue for personnel and equipment on the airfield, from the obvious nuts, bolts, and construction materials to trash from planes, wildlife, and during the winter, ice and snow,” said David Staples, the Division of Aviation’s Director of Safety Management Systems.
In addition to its daily field inspections, PHL’s Operations Department also schedules regular FOD walks (from spring-fall) with the airport’s airlines and other tenants to collect debris in the airfield ramp areas. The walks, which were suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19 social distancing regulations and reduced airline activity, resumed at the end of June.
“We tackle one terminal per FOD walk. Our first location was Terminal D and we collected about 350 pounds of debris, including pallets and unused equipment,” said Staples. “The walks are important not only to support our efforts to keep our ramps safe and free of FOD, but to also allow staff from across the airport to understand the challenges we face in accident and injury prevention.”