Flying safely

Safety is the main preoccupation and an absolute priority for skeyes. It is the key element of the company’s culture. skeyes gives great importance to “Just Culture”. Safety is promoted on a daily basis and is embedded in the DNA of the company and its employees. At skeyes, safety is analysed and managed in a systematic and continuous way.

1. Number of incidents always at a minimum

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category A and B incidents (1 and 3)

Evolution of the number of category A (severe) and B (major) incidents

skeyes recorded the second-best score in its history in the area of safety in 2018. Considering the growth and complexity of air traffic, the proportion of A and B incidents decreased compared to the previous year. It is one of the lowest scores in Europe.

accident 3.63

category A and B incidents per million movements

accident 0.91

category A incidents per million movements

The severity of incidents is evaluated by independent experts on a scale from A (severe) to E (no impact on safety). The severity of an incident is determined by the horizontal and vertical separations between the aircraft and by the level of control over the situation.

2. A pervasive safety culture

Just Culture

“Just Culture” is a key element for skeyes. It offers a trusting environment in which operating personnel can work honestly and transparently. Using reports and investigations into safety-related events, Just Culture places the emphasis on the exchange of crucial information to ensure continuous improvement of air navigation safety, as well as the non-punitive handling of unintentional human errors.

In December 2018, skeyes hosted a major FABEC conference on Just Culture with experts from a variety of companies and authorities from several European countries. Conference theme: how to bridge the gap between aviation safety and the judicial systems?

All incidents, no matter how minor or insignificant, are reported. The skeyes air traffic controllers reported a total of 1,489 incidents in 2018. All the reports are extensively analysed by skeyes safety experts to maintain the high level of safety and ensure continuous improvement. In addition, systematic reporting of incidents provides a more accurate overview of the proactive and reactive actions that need to be taken.

accident 1,489

incident reports in 2018

Number of incidents reported by skeyes air traffic controllers

In ten years, the number of incident reports has increased by more than 900%. For the first time, this number has decreased, indicating a likely stabilization of the effects of measures taken to encourage incident reporting. This observation is closely followed by skeyes.

The significant increase in the number of incident reports in recent years is related to three factors:

  • The firm establishment of a culture of safety as well as the continuous application and promotion of Just Culture;
  • Optimisation of incident reporting tools;
  • European legislation from the end of 2015 which expanded the types of incidents to be reported.

3. The most frequently reported incidents

Some of the most reported incidents include intrusion by pilots into controlled airspace without prior authorisation (93 reports). This type of incident mainly involved regional airports where there is a higher volume of general aviation traffic.

Another type of incident frequently reported is attempts to blind pilots using laser pointers, even though, once again, such reports are down compared to previous years (83 reports in 2018 compared to 101 the previous year).

However, reports of drones in controlled airspace and in the no-fly zones around airports have increased significantly: they have doubled compared to 2017 (31 reports in 2018 against 15 the previous year).

From the 1,489 incidents reported, investigations established that skeyes bore responsibility in 83 of them, of which almost 75% (61) were category E, that is to say without any impact on the level of safety.

4. Proactive safety actions

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safety assessments were carried out in 2018 by skeyes

These are changes involving safety that have been reported to the Belgian Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services (BSA-ANS).

Whenever a technical or operational (new system, new procedure, etc.) change is planned, the modification is analysed from a safety perspective before its implementation and is thoroughly examined.

In 2018, this concerned, among other things,

  • the DVOR/DME navigation beacon modernisation programme;
  • the introduction of the Airbus A340-300 to Charleroi Airport;
  • the modernisation of the air traffic management system at the CANAC 2 centre;
  • projects to optimise the horizontal separation between aircraft (reduction from 5 to 3 nautical miles) in the approach zone to Ostend and Charleroi airports.
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safety surveys were conducted in 2018 by skeyes

Safety surveys are internal and external audits carried out to identify the most high-risk processes and take the appropriate corrective actions.

The safety surveys conducted in 2018 included:

  • operations at Kortrijk Airport;
  • the transfer of DHL cargo operations to a new site at Brussels Airport