The latest report from the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) shows a significant overall decline in reported airprox incidents in the January-June 2009 period compared to the same months in previous years.
There were a total of 60 incidents in the first half of 2009 involving commercial, military and general aviation aircraft, in contrast to an average of 88 for the same period for each of the previous five years. The figures reveal a particularly sharp fall in the number of incidents involving civil airliners. Of the incidents involving commercial air transport aircraft assessed by UKAB, none were deemed as being a potential risk of a collision. Although the number of airprox incidents involving general aviation was down year-on-year, the proportion of incidents in which safety was compromised (35%) was similar to the previous year. Late sightings and non-sightings contributed to over half of these incidents. Commenting on the figures the Director of UKAB, Ian Dugmore, said: We are obviously pleased to see a year-on-year fall in the number of airprox incidents. However, we need to acknowledge that the decline in commercial air transport and general aviation incidents may be partly due to traffic reduction during the recession. The reduction in the number of airprox incidents in Terminal Control Airspace - down from 11 in 2008 to one in 2009 is particularly welcome. However, this should not be allowed to disguise the continuing problem of unauthorised incursions into controlled airspace, which do not always result in an airprox, but routinely cause disruption and delay. UKAB reports - produced jointly for the Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority and the Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force - are principally intended for pilots and air traffic controllers, both civil and military. The purpose of the reports is to promote air safety awareness and understanding by identifying and sharing the lessons arising from UK airprox incidents. Todays report is available on the UKAB website www.airproxboard.org.uk The bi-annual UKAB reports continue to be distributed in hardcopy and CD format.