The council of European air navigation organisation Eurocontrol met late last week to "accelerate plans" for air traffic control safety improvements in response to the 1 July mid-air collision of a DHL Boeing 757 freighter and a Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev Tu-154M. The action comes as the European Commission (EC) says improved air traffic services (ATS) safety would be one of the benefits of the Single European Sky policy.

Eurocontrol's council met on 12 July to discuss safety, identify areas which need to be improved and expedite planned safety initiatives.

Eurocontrol's plans for accelerated action include:

setting up a confidential incident reporting system;

helping ATS providers to upgrade systems, including installing short-term conflict alert systems for those that do not have them;

supervising the implementation of safety management systems;

harmonising the measurement of safety standards and the assessment of occurrences to enable identification of "problem areas";

establishing a centralised high-level safety action group for system audit.

Meanwhile, the EC says: "We are not saying that with a Single European Sky this [collision] could not have happened, but it will bring safety benefits." These would result from the harmonisation of rules and improved systems interoperability, as well as pan-European legislation to set enforceable ATS minimum standards, according to the Commission.

Source: Flight International