Aviation FOD | Safety Awareness About Foreign Object Debris Hazards - Aviation Professional

Aviation FOD | Safety Awareness About Foreign Object Debris Hazards

Aviation FOD |  Safety Awareness About Foreign Object Debris Hazards

In aviation, we hear the term [Aviation FOD], foreign objects debris. Due to the importance of this subject, it is included in most of the basic training courses for airport staff.

In addition, ICAO annex 14, Aerodrome Design and Operations, Chapter 10 [Pavements 10.2.1] states, “The surfaces of all movement areas including pavements (runways, taxiways and aprons) and adjacent areas shall be inspected and their conditions monitored regularly as part of an aerodrome preventive and corrective maintenance programme with the objective of avoiding and eliminating any loose objects/debris that might cause damage to aircraft or impair the operation of aircraft systems.”


In this article, I will try to clarify what is the meaning of foreign objects debris [aviation FOD], with some examples of them, where they are likely to be inside the airport, what damage it may have caused and how we can avoid this damage while we are in the airport.


What is a Foreign Object Debris (FOD)?

Foreign Object Debris (FOD) is a general term which applies to all loose objects which are a danger to the safety and integrity of an aircraft and which, therefore, must not be left in any area where they would constitute a hazard.

Another definition for Foreign Object Debris (FOD):  any object, live or not, located in an inappropriate location in the airport environment that has the capacity to injure airport or air carrier personnel and damage aircraft. 


Why a Foreign Object Debris (FOD) is a Hazard?

Foreign object debris (FOD) at airport's airside or landside is a hazard, it has the potential to cause damage to aircraft and in turn can have a catastrophic effect on safety.

Let me give you an example, the Concorde crash.

" On July 25, 2000, the Concorde crashed a few minutes after taking off from Charles de Gaulle airport.  After investigations, it's revealed that the cause of the accident was a metal wire [FOD]. The Foreign Object Debris FOD was located in the runway. It was catastrophic accident resulted in the deaths of 113 people, including all the passengers and crew. "


How a Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Cause Damage?

In some definitions of Foreign Object Debris [FOD] is foreign object damage (FOD) because it causes damage to:

1.       Aircraft [Engines, tyres, or aircraft components]

2.       Ground Equipment

3.       Or injury to airport personnel through jet blast.

Damage is caused through direct contact with aviation foreign object debris at airports [both airside and landside]. Foreign Object Debris [FOD] damage does not include damage from neutral causes such as lighting.


Is it clear?


What is considered a Foreign Object Debris [ Aviation FOD ]?

Foreign Object Debris [FOD] can include a wide range of material that may be found anywhere in the airport environment, such as:

1.       Plastic and paper, bags/sheets, and rags.

2.       Metal: nuts and bolts, empty oil and Hydraulic fluid cans, tools and equipment.

3.       Natural objects: rocks, pebbles and wood

4.       Other debris:  luggage handles and luggage wheels, etc.

5.       And even wildlife.

Now, I can say that you understood the term [ Aviation FOD ] as well as what is considered Foreign Object Debris [Aviation FOD]?


Where you may find a Foreign Object Debris [FOD]?

Foreign Object Debris [FOD] may be found at all airside areas such as terminal gates, cargo aprons, taxiways, runways, and run-up pads etc.


Foreign Object Debris [Aviation FOD ] Sources

There are many Foreign Object Debris [FOD] Sources such as:

1- Airport personnel

e.g., items in our pockets can be just as dangerous, such as keys and loose personal items.

2- Airport Infrastructure

 e.g., any construction and maintenance waste due to construction activities to operational areas

3- Weather Conditions

e.g., objects, small stones, sands and mud ..etc.

4- The Environment

e.g., any plants that may be appear due to the airport environment or any live animals and birds..etc.        

5- The Ground Services Equipment operating on the Airside

e.g., Ground Services Equipment [GSE] Parts such as wheels, Metal parts, Rubber parts …etc.

6- Airside Activities

e.g., items such as paper, glass and plastic debris [mainly from catering] and luggage & baggage parts …etc.

In addition, debris that may be results due to cargo activities such as pallets, containers, wooden spreaders, pallets plastic covers...etc.

7- Aircraft Maintenance Activities

e.g., hydraulic fluid cans, tools and equipment


What you should do if you find Foreign Object Debris [FOD] at airport?

If you are working at airport, you are responsible for minimizing the risk of damage to aircraft [Engines, tyres, or aircraft components], ground equipment and injury to airport personnel through jet blast by aviation FOD.

All foreign objects debris [FOD] must be removed and properly disposed of as soon as it is discovered, as well as reported.




It is important in the interests of aviation safety to keep runways, taxiways and aprons clear of loose stones or other objects and debris that could cause damage to aircraft or engines, or impair the operation of aircraft systems.

Airports and airlines, maintenance and ground handling companies should include Foreign Object Debris [FOD] prevention in their training programmes, for all airside, maintenance and hangar staff. A co‐operation between all parties working in the airport should be fostered.

All airport's staff that involved in operations on the airport movement area, maintenance hangars and aircraft turnarounds have equal responsibility to ensure that their particular operation does not give rise to Foreign Object Debris [FOD].


Thanks for giving us some time to read the article, we hope to share this article, and your comment on the article is also important to us.




You can read these references to further your knowledge regarding this subject:

1-IATA Airport Services Manual

2- IATA Ground Operation Manual

3-EATC Ground Operations Manual (EGOM)





















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