EUROCONTROL Voluntary ATM Incident Reporting (EVAIR) has just released its “Jubilee” 20th Bulletin. It contains ATM statistics for the summers and the full years of 2013-2017, assessing in total 28,000 reports, as well as data from the IATA STEADES (Safety Trend Evaluation and Data Exchange System) on a selected number of air traffic management issues, giving Europe’s ATM safety experts a useful comparison.
The evolution of different types of safety cases is interesting to trace. But EVAIR warns that after three to five years of decreasing occurrence – usually following safety campaigns, improved regulation or heightened awareness – increases tend to creep up again. The bulletin concludes that:
- Small drone incursions proliferated in 2017, mostly affecting the final approach at airports, although there were reports of drones at higher altitudes. 10% of drone reports were categorised as airproxes; vertical and horizontal separation was sometimes only a matter of metres.
- GPS (Global Positioning System) outages are closely linked to areas in which there is political tension. Traffic in 2017 was mostly affected by GPS outages in the Black Sea/Caspian Sea axis and the eastern Mediterranean.
- Turkey and Cyprus were some of the few states to mention outages in NOTAMs, which was of help to AOs (aircraft operators).
- Over the last three to four years, the number of ACAS (Aircraft Collision Avoidance System) RAs (Resolution Advisories) has stabilised at between 0.5 and 0.6 occurrences per 10,000 flights. Most of these were in the en route phase of flight. There were 184 cases of false RAs caused by hybrid surveillance but there was no erosion of horizontal separation or risk of collision.
- Although laser interference is still a problem, it is good to see that the number of cases in most states is falling. One of the reasons for this drop is that the use of laser devices to target aircraft has been prohibited in a majority of states and is now a criminal offence in many.
- In 2017, there was a drop in the number of call sign confusion cases. ANSPs (air navigation service providers) have also identified a decrease in the numbers of cases of call sign similarity/confusion. There is clear evidence that airlines using EUROCONTROL’s CSST tool have on average two to seven times fewer problems with call sign similarity and confusion. The message is clear: airlines should use the tool!
- “Air-ground communication” is the leading contributor to incidents for the second year in a row.