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face the future

Air traffic control in Europe after


the Überlingen accident
On 1 July 2002, a nightmare came true for skyguide. In the air- means meticulously respecting
space controlled by it over southern Germany, a Bashkirian Air- all the BFU’s safety recommen-
lines Tupolev TU-154M passenger plane collided at 11,000 metres dations and where this has not
with a Boeing 757-200 cargo plane belonging to express courier already been done, implement-
DHL. The accident cost the lives of 71 people. On 19 May 2004, the ing them as swiftly as possible.
German Air Accident Investigation Bureau (BFU) in Braun- But taking responsibility also
schweig, Germany, published its final report on the Überlingen means serving as an example to
crash. Time for skyguide to take stock and look into the future. the providers, who have joined
forces as an international air
Accident and causes introduced a string of measures traffic control federation, and
The BFU’s final report, which to enhance the safe handling of showing where the air traffic sys-
is published on the internet1, air traffic in the airspace con- tem offers scope for improve-
described the accident process in trolled by it. The implementa- ments to be made. In view of the
detail. It points to causes and tion of the recommendations fact that air navigation services
frames recommendations to be from its own and external safety in Switzerland, in fact the whole
implemented to improve safety. experts has been occupying system of civil aviation in
The report shows that weak skyguide intensively since the Switzerland, have been compre-
spots in Swiss air traffic control accident almost two years ago. hensively examined, skyguide
bore some responsibility for this The BFU’s safety recommenda- can now face the future in the
accident. Skyguide is devastated tions, too, have been implement- certain knowledge that it has
that its safety system, with which ed or are in the course of imple-
it controls the extremely com- mentation.
plex air traffic on the heart of The measures taken by
Flugsicherung in Europa nach dem
Europe every day, failed on the skyguide included opening up
Unfall von Überlingen
night of the accident. Even the Area Control Centre in Am 1. Juli 2002 wurde ein Alptraum für skyguide Wirklich-
before the accident, skyguide had Zurich to the team of experts keit. Im von ihr kontrollierten Luftraum über Süddeutsch-
land stiessen ein Passagierflugzeug vom Typ Tupolev
extensively expanded its safety from Germany and Austria for
TU-154M der Bashkirian Airlines mit einem Frachtflugzeug
system. Today it meets all nation- examination, and making major
des Typs Boeing 757-200 des Express-Postdienstes DHL in
al and international standards. reinforcements to the company’s 11 000 Metern zusammen. Bei dem Unglück kamen 71 Men-
Drawing a clear position own safety management. Skyguide schen ums Leben. Am 19. Mai 2004 hat die Bundesstelle
With the long-awaited publi- also subjected the STCA (Short- für Flugunfalluntersuchungen (BFU) in Braunschweig
cation of the final report, clarity Term Conflict Alert) system, (Deutschland) ihren Abschlussbericht zum Flugzeugunglück
could finally be established which warns if safety minima are von Überlingen veröffentlicht. Zeit für skyguide Bilanz zu zie-
regarding facts and causes, and a being breached, to a close analysis hen und einen Blick in die Zukunft zu werfen.
stop put to the speculation. and remedied any shortcomings

Services de la navigation aérienne


Skyguide could take up a clear detected.
Plea for forgiveness
en Europe après l’accident
position regarding the events of

d’Überlingen
the accident, its role and the safe- Skyguide once again extends
ty recommendations coming out its sincere condolences and deep
of the report, together with their sympathy to the bereaved. Le 1er juillet 2002, un cauchemar est devenu triste réalité
pour skyguide. Dans l’espace aérien qu’elle contrôle au-dessus
implementation. It has expressed Skyguide CEO Alain Rossier asks
de l’Allemagne du Sud, un avion de passagers du type
its regret and asked for forgive- the families for forgiveness and
Tupolev TU-154M de la compagnie Bashkirian Airlines
ness. At its media conference, assures them that skyguide takes entrait en collision avec un avion-cargo du type Boeing 757-
skyguide reported on the on board the responsibility 200 de la société de transport express international aérien
progress in safety management. 2 established in the report. DHL à 11 000 mètres d’altitude. Cette catastrophe faisait 71
Safety management extended Taking responsibility victimes. Le 19 mai 2004, le Bureau d’enquêtes allemand sur
Skyguide has been extending Taking responsibility means les accidents d’aviation (BFU) a publié à Braunschweig son
its safety management since committing oneself to ensuring rapport final sur l’accident aérien d’Überlingen. Skyguide a
2001. Immediately after the acci- that such a disaster can never saisi l’occasion pour dresser un bilan et se tourner vers
dent, it set up a Task Force and happen again. For skyguide, this l’avenir.

22 edito talking point in focus face the future in progress point of view inside skyguide what’s up in the sky
face the future
ther optimised thanks to the
TRM (Team Resource Manag-
ement) module. A further meas-
ure is the BLiP (Briefing &
Learning i-net Platform) project,
which allows computer-assisted
briefing of air traffic controllers.
The courage to embrace
transparency
The experience of this acci-
dent was traumatic for everyone
at skyguide and in the interna-
tional air traffic control commu-
nity, dealing with it has cost a lot
of energy and the process is not
yet complete. Because safety is
not a state that remains indefi-
nitely ensured once it has been
achieved. Safety is the objective
of our daily work. Transparency,
the courage to admit to mistakes
and understand them, to make
and take criticism, are therefore
necessary conditions if we are
never to rest upon the laurels of
what is assumed to be a high
taken the measures necessary ty for one’s own actions, self-
Skyguide feels safety record. That is why we at
for the development of safer criticism and safety awareness.
ready to rise to skyguide are striving, on the
the challenges aviation. With its Safety Improvement
strength of our experience, to
Safety and error reporting Reporting (SIR), skyguide has
achieve an open communication
culture clearly reinforced created a reporting system for
field which provides the founda-
Since 2001, skyguide has safety-related observations and
tions for safety to be constantly
invested increasingly in extend- proposed improvements. All staff
guaranteed. Skyguide feels ready
ing the safety and error reporting members can use this system –
today to rise to the challenges of
culture. This work has been anonymously if they wish – to
European air traffic control with
stepped up further since the acci- make proposals for the improve-
its increasingly important coope-
dent. The implementation of the ment of safety in the technical or
ration.
ICAO (SARPs) and Eurocontrol operational field. A further pro-
requirements (ESARRs) is well gram called CIRP (Confidential
Alain Rossier
advanced now. Skyguide has Incident Reporting Program) will
CEO
taken additional measures to allow blame-free reporting of
improve the error reporting operational incidents. However, 1
http://www.bfu-web.de/berichte/02_ax001dfr.pdf
culture at all levels in the compa- here in Switzerland, as in other 2
Presentation and detailed fact sheet from the media
ny, because it is only where weak European countries, we lack the
conference are available on the internet
spots are consistently highlighted legal framework. On top of this,
http://www.skyguide.ch/ueberlingen/
and investigated that safety can skyguide has introduced in the
be increased every day. operational field the so-called
The measures taken by PTC (Proficiency Training and
skyguide include an Individual Assessment Concept), which
Responsibility and Ethical corresponds to the Eurocontrol
Awareness Program (IREAP) requirements. It sets new yard-
which is conducted company- sticks in further training and for
wide and is designed to further the award of the air traffic con-
sharpen human behavioural pat- troller’s licence which is renewed
terns such as taking responsibili- annually. The team work is fur-

edito talking point in focus face the future in progress point of view inside skyguide what’s up in the sky 23