Communication between air traffic controllers and pilots remains a vital part of air traffic control operations, and communication problems can result in hazardous situations. A first step towards reducing the incidence of communication problems is to understand why and how they happen. Separate studies commissioned by EUROCONTROL have sought to identify the causes of these communication problems. An occurrence-reporting campaign addressed to European airlines and Air Navigation Service Providers was conducted in order to collect a representative data sample on air-ground communication problems. At the same time, a survey of airline pilots and air traffic controllers in Europe was included in the framework of this study to identify lessons learnt and recommendations in the area of communication safety. Further work has examined existing practices and rules regarding similar call signs and proposed strategies for making significant reductions in the incidence of similar call signs.
This work has contributed to our understanding of the causes of communications problems and informed the development of recommendations and solutions.