Aviation is one of the safest means of transport, thanks to the tireless efforts and the unceasing dedication of everyone involved.

Air navigation services play a vital part here. And skyguide, too, consistently works to maintain and further enhance its excellent safety levels.


In making safety part of our daily working lives, we strive at skyguide to constantly challenge our business decisions and make the right choices in an environment where complexity and economic constraints are simple realities. Both within our organisation and with our various partners, we create and maintain an atmosphere of trust which enables us to learn from both failures and successes.


At skyguide we use advanced tools and techniques to identify and understand risks, and pursue strategies to minimise these and anticipate any possible problems. We also deploy state-of-the-art human factors techniques to help our operators provide safe services; and we contribute actively to the design and development of further innovative solutions.




A just culture

As has been proven, providing trust and adequate protection for all the individuals involved in aviation (and other safety-relevant fields) encourages them to adopt and maintain the best possible attitude and approach to errors.


Anyone at skyguide who acts in their work to the best of their knowledge and belief need have no fear of disciplinary or legal proceedings as a result of their actions and activities. And everyone is free to report any problems openly and comprehensively – including errors of their own. At the same time, skyguide does not accept deliberate harm, gross negligence or willful damaging behavior.


With its just and fair approach, skyguide today has an outstanding reporting system. The reports we receive enable us to acquire well-documented findings and make continuous further improvements to our air traffic management systems.


Dealing with errors in public is not always easy. In some instances, the maintenance of a just culture can be at odds with a legal standpoint or a societal expectation. But skyguide is firmly committed to maintaining a just culture within its organisation and in all its dealings with its customers and partners.



Safety risk assessments

A safety risk assessment is a formal process by which skyguide explicitly ensures that the risks associated with planned or proposed changes to its air traffic management systems have been properly assessed, and have been mitigated to bring them within certain predefined limits prior to the adoption of the changes concerned.


At skyguide a group of international experts works day after day to improve the understanding and appreciation of air traffic management systems, which are a complex network of interacting technology, procedures and human factors. These specialists identify, analyse, evaluate and, if necessary, address the related risks.


The unit safety survey

Sustainable improvements to safety can only be achieved with the cooperation of multiple stakeholders with a shared risk perception, with the proper identification of improvement opportunities and with a sound knowledge of implementation strategies.


To maintain or further improve its high safety standards, skyguide performs modular safety surveys of its operational units, using a methodology developed by its own experts. These unit safety surveys help create an environment that is conducive to the adoption of safety improvements. They also provide a “risk picture” of the unit’s environment, propose risk mitigation strategies and support improvement measures.


The whole process is based on a collaborative multi-stakeholder approach that has proved very successful in numerous complex air traffic management environments. It can easily be applied in other domains, too.


Human factors

At skyguide we put great efforts into first understanding the human elements within our ATM system and then attempting to manage any factors or influences that can affect human performance, positively or negatively. Putting such an emphasis on the human component within the ATM system brings even more efficiency, unique human performance capabilities and safer operations and performance to today’s highly complex safety-critical system.


Our human factors teams, who are all trained in psychology, human factors engineering and/or ergonomics, work closely on a daily basis with our air traffic controllers, our engineers and our project managers. In doing so they provide both practical and technical support, especially when any modifications or innovations are being made to our systems.


Reporting and investigation

Skyguide has established a confidential safety reporting system that enables the company to learn from failures in a fair and just environment. Any operational or technical incidents are openly disclosed and treated in such a way that improvements can be made where necessary. This is done in cooperation with active air traffic controllers who have undergone specific training in investigation management.


Special attention is given here to serious incidents, in the wake of which a dedicated process is systematically initiated. This ensures adequate protection of the company and its personnel against future recurrence.


In addition, an independent critical incident stress management programme has been established, which offers psychological support to the individuals involved through an internal network of over 50 peers.


A voluntary safety reporting system advantageously supplements the treatment of incidents by providing all skyguide personnel with the opportunity to report safety threats in a confidential manner. Trends and “hotspots” are also identified and monitored through appropriate safety performance indicators, which are regularly discussed with the management.