Italian safety authorities have highlighted a sharp increase last year in the number of encounters between aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Accident investigation agency ANSV, in a newly disclosed analysis of civil aviation safety for 2016, says the number of encounters nearly trebled to 51.

ANSV adds that "many" of these events occurred in "sensitive" areas – notably in the vicinity of airports or approach paths and other safety-critical points.

The authority lists the incidents, and shows that around half of them involved large commercial transport aircraft including Embraer regional jets, Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s.

Five incidents, all with Airbus jets, occurred at Naples in the first six months, and four events – involving three A320s and a Boeing 767 – were associated with Rome Fiumicino in the space of less than three weeks.

ANSV has detailed the incidents in a specific section of its review dedicated to unmanned aerial vehicles and drones. It says that, in the previous year, 18 incidents were reported.

It adds that it issued five safety recommendations in 2016 in an effort to counter the increase in drone-related events.

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Source: Cirium Dashboard