Airspace Infringement Initiative

The initiative was launched by EUROCONTROL in 2006 with the ultimate goal to develop a European-wide risk reduction action plan and assist airspace users, ANS providers, regulators and military authorities in implementing the agreed actions.

The focus of this safety initiative is the infringement of controlled airspace, which can be defined as a flight into notified airspace made without prior approval from the designated controlling authority of that airspace in accordance with international and national regulations. The "controlled airspace" referred to comprises ICAO airspace classes A to E.

Infringement of restricted airspace may also pose serious risk to the “infringer” and the operations being carried out in that airspace. The generic term “restricted airspace” is used to designate Prohibited, Restricted and Dangerous Areas, Temporary Reserved Airspace or airspace notified by a restriction of flying in accordance with national requirements.


Where does it come from?

The launch of a dedicated airspace infringement initiative has been recommended to the EUROCONTROL Safety Team by the Safety Improvement Sub-Group (SISG) at the end of 2005. The SISG analyses on a regular basis the safety data collected by the European states and identifies the so called “key risks areas” or in other words the priority areas, which require the focus of the collective safety improvement efforts.


Safety data analysis performed by many European states, SISG and EUROCONTROL SRC indicate that airspace infringements represent a severe threat to aircraft operations. Numerous ATM incidents have occurred between IFR and VFR flights in controlled airspace. Some of them presented a high risk of collision. Solutions exist, but can only be implemented in collaboration with all actors concerned.

The graph below has been derived from the annual safety reports sent to EUROCONTROL from European states. It clearly indicates that the overall levels of reported risk are increasing. The share of reported AI that has significant to serious safety impact (yellow to red colour) is higher than 40 %.

Action Plan

Airspace Infringement Initiative Action Plan

The Action plan is the key deliverable of the Airspace Infringement Initiative. It presents the agreed set of safety improvement actions and provides guidance on how they can best be implemented.

The plan was developed with the support and active contribution of the organisations representing the airspace users, service providers, regulatory and military authorities: International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (European region), International Air Transport Association, national federations and aero club associations, national civil aviation administrations, air navigation service providers (civil and military), the European Commission and EUROCONTROL.

In addition, many hundreds of individual general aviation (GA) pilots contributed to the work and supported this pan-European safety improvement effort.

Readers are invited to provide their comments and change suggestions to the Airspace Infringement Initiative Coordinator


What is the Solution proposed by EUROCONTROL?

Making full use of previous experience in successfully addressing key risk areas to develop and implement an effective risk mitigation strategy and corresponding set of risk reduction actions. This approach has been proven in other safety improvement initiatives like Runway safety initiative and Air ground communication safety initiative. It includes:

  • Identification of the actual systemic causes and contributory factors that lead to airspace infringements;
  • Wide dissemination of locally existing experience and knowledge about the potential solutions to the infringement issue;
  • Identification of measures that can effectively mitigate the risk consolidated in an action plan;
  • Coordinated and harmonised implementation of risk reduction actions by all risk stakeholders supported by a dedicated toolkit.

The key success factor is the involvement and cooperation of all key stakeholders, including national regulators, air navigation service providers, general aviation (GA) representatives, military authorities and professional organisations.

Airspace Infringement Initiative Support team

Contact us for more information and support.