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Safety: the paramount priority

 

Safety: the paramount priority

 

Safety has top priority in all of skyguide’s activities. Once more in 2018, safety was maintained at a very high level. The number of violations of aircraft separation minima was again substantially lower than the average of the past five years.

 

The prime objectives of the 2013-2019 skyguide Safety Strategy are to permanently enhance the company’s safety culture, to systematically record its safety performance and to develop a new risk management system. Skyguide’s safety management is assessed annually by the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA).

 

 

Skyguide’s safety policy is based on four fundamental principles:

Skyguide is subject to a series of European safety objectives. These must be achieved by the end of 2019, but have already been fully met today. Skyguide has also created a forum in which its management, its unions and its staff associations can exchange off-the-record views. The resulting reciprocal trust has continued to produce concrete improvements.

Skyguide has formulated an internal “Just Culture” policy (see Page 20). A just culture is a corporate culture which is dedicated to constantly enhancing safety by ensuring that employees can report an incident without fear of disciplinary action. Cases of gross negligence or wilful intent are, however, explicitly excluded from such immunity.

The reporting system for technical malfunctions, which was actively promoted in 2018, is also showing positive results.

 

Accidents and incidents
Every violation – even the slightest – of the minimum radar separations required between two aircraft is automatically recorded. Skyguide registered 112 such violations among the almost 1.3 million instrument flight rules flights which it handled in 2018. The numbers here are too small to determine any trends.

 

If an incident is classified as serious, the Swiss Trans-portation Safety Investigation Board will investigate it and compile a report (such reports can be viewed on www.sust.admin.ch). Eleven such incidents were investigated in 2018. The fact that an incident is investigated does not necessarily mean that air traffic control is involved in it or bears responsibility.

 

Skyguide’s own Safety Management unit also investigates all accidents and incidents. Any air traffic controller who is involved in a serious incident will be offered psychological counselling and other specialist support.