The greatest danger to European air traffic management (ATM) safety is non-compliance with agreed safety requirements by Eurocontrol member states, says a safety study just completed by the air navigation organisation.

It was the mid-air collision between two airliners over southern Germany in July last year that sparked the creation of the high-level Action Group for ATM Safety (AGAS). But when the group began its study it found that the real problems, apart from the disregard of rules, were basic ones like a widespread and chronic shortage of air traffic control officers and lack of guidance for selection and training.

AGAS lists eight high-priority safety areas, topped by the need to train more controllers, but it also deals with the need for standardisation and the elimination of ambiguity in standard operating procedures governing pilot and controller reaction to airborne collision avoidance system resolution advisories.

Also included in the AGAS report is a study on runway incursions that was started before the October 2001 runway collision at Milan Linate airport between a Scandinavian Airlines Boeing MD-87 and Cessna CJ2 business jet. Eurocontrol has produced its recommendations which are ready for implementation, even though the accident report itself has not yet been published.

Source: Flight International