European Safety Indicators On The Rise

By Sean Broderick
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
July 22, 2013

Encouraging Trends

Europe's commercial operators and airports are becoming safer, and this could strengthen even more as a trend-unearthing pan-European occurrence database becomes more relevant, European Aviation Safety Agency's (EASA) latest safety review indicates.

The 2012 Annual Safety Review shows that EASA member-state (MS) commercial operators were involved in 34 accidents—one fatal—in 2012, up from 30 in 2011 and an average of 25.2 for the 10 years ended in 2010. The increase was one of the few notable negatives in the report, released in June.

Last year's lone EASA commercial operator-related fatality occurred on Nov. 11, when a ground handler became trapped between a belt loader and the rear cargo door of a TAP Air Portugal Airbus A320 at Rome's Fiumicino Airport. The one fatal accident matched 2011's total and came in below the previous decade's average of 3.4 fatal accidents per year. The last year with multiple fatal accidents involving EASA MS commercial aircraft was 2007.

European airport safety also is improving, data in the report suggest.

EASA MS airport design issues did not factor into a single accident or serious incident in 2012, after contributing to a total of 15 occurrences from 2008—the first year aerodrome data was included in the report—through 2011.

Runway excursions dipped to 17 in 2012 after averaging nearly 21 for the previous four years.

Ground collisions were four, just below the previous four years' average and half of 2011 totals, while ramp accidents and serious incidents also were four, matching the 2011 total and well below the four-year average of just under seven incidents per year.

Runway incursion rates, which EASA classifies as a subset of air traffic management (ATM) occurrences and measures per million aircraft movements, showed mixed results in 2012. The occurrence rate for “serious” incidents dipped slightly year over year, while the rate of “major” incidents increased slightly. Exact figures were not given.

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