EUROCONTROL and the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) have announced a new partnership to reinforce aviation safety in Europe and globally.
The partnership aims at strengthening cooperation between the two organisations in order to reduce aviation safety risk. Three key issues stand out in the joint work: mitigating the risk posed by the combination of growth in traffic and shortage of air traffic controllers and pilots; the need to create a Just Culture in aviation; and the promotion of SKYbary, an online repository for safety-related information. Speaking at the opening of the European Aviation Safety Seminar in Bucharest, Erik Merckx, EUROCONTROL Deputy Director of Programmes said: EUROCONTROL and the FSF have been courting for quite a number of years already. Combining our scarce resources, efforts, sharing best practices, coming out of our silos is the start of what I believe will be a successful marriage that will contribute to saving many more lives in aviation. Under the terms of the agreement to be signed between the two organisations, the EUROCONTROL Agency will serve as Fellow for Aviation Safety in Europe, responsible for coordinating the promotion and implementation of the FSF safety initiatives and products on the continent. On its side, the FSF will promote EUROCONTROL safety initiatives and products globally. A particular emphasis will be given to supporting the development of a Just Culture and transparency in safety-related issues. This partnership is a great opportunity for the Flight Safety Foundation and Im very pleased weve been able to formalize the relationship, noted FSF CEO and President, William R. Voss. While weve always had a global focus, this relationship with EUROCONTROL will allow us to work together in a new way that will lead to even more improvements in aviation safety in Europe and worldwide. Europe currently has over 10 million flights a year, with peaks of over 4,000 flights an hour. With the number of flights growing by on average 5% a year, there is strong pressure on Europes 15,000 air traffic controllers to keep delays down. However Europe already has around 10% fewer controllers than is necessary, and their average age is increasing rapidly. In addition, the SESAR project, which aims to address the capacity gap through new technologies and automation requires controllers for validation. As a result, the shortage of controllers could reach 20% in the coming years.