Go-arounds and near-misses top traffic risk list: Eurocontrol

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Eurocontrol's ranking of the five key risks in air traffic management shows that go-arounds and missed approaches account for the highest incident rate.

In second place are airborne collision avoid system (ACAS) resolution advisories.

The agency says more airlines and air navigation service providers (ANSP) are contributing to its ATM incident reporting programme, improving its ability to identify risk. About 160 airlines contribute, representing some 70% of Europe's air traffic, says Eurocontrol. Data is also submitted by ANSPs and collected automatically from radar stations.

A data breakdown for the period 2008-2012 shows that go-arounds/missed approaches increased to more than once in every 10,000 flights in 2010 and 2011, and ACAS resolution advisory incidents occur at a rate of about 0.7 events in every 10,000 flights. Level-busts come next in the ranking, with about 0.2 per 10,000, followed by callsign confusion events and finally runway incursion.

The latter is low at 0.05 events per 10,000 movements, but the potentially catastrophic outcome of incursion means it is still taken seriously, and the Eurocontrol statistics show that while such events may be few in number, that number is not reducing.