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Evolution of the number of incidents

For the third time in the company's history, skeyes recorded no category A incidents, the most severe. Although not matching the absolute record set in 2016, when no category A or B incidents occurred, safety performance in 2020 also highlights the effectiveness of the management of the health crisis in the company and the maintenance of its priority mission at the highest level.

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.


category A incidents (severe)


category B incidents (major)


category A and B incidents per million movements


category A incidents per million movements

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

A firmly established safety culture

Just Culture

A royal decree providing a legal framework for Just Culture and its application came into force on 26 August 2020. skeyes requested such a framework in order to continue to promote its Just Culture vision, which has always guided its actions in incident management:

  • the search for causes in order to gain a thorough understanding of the incident and to take appropriate measures so that a similar event does not occur again.
  • building a climate of trust by not seeking to identify and blame the person responsible while clearly outlining unacceptable behaviour and actions.

This Just Culture vision enables skeyes to implement formalised, proactive and responsive management, and the firm establishment of a safety culture within the company through which operational staff can work in full honesty and transparency.

In ten years, the number of incident reports has increased significantly overall. This does not mean that there are more incidents than before, but rather that they are increasingly systematically reported in order to be analysed and to be able to draw learning lessons from them for improving safety. Two factors have contributed in recent years to the increase in these incident reports:

  • The firm establishment of a safety culture as well as the continuous application and promotion of Just Culture;
  • The optimisation of incident reporting tools.

The 62% jump between 2015 and 2016 is also due to European Regulation 376/2014 introduced at the end of 2015, which expanded the types of incidents to be reported.

culture securite


incident reports in 2020

All incidents, no matter how minor or insignificant, are reported. The skeyes’ air traffic controllers reported a total of 933 incidents in 2020. This 41.4% decrease in reported events in 2020 compared to 2019 is due to the fall in air traffic as a result of the health crisis, which reached nearly 50%.

incident report


incident reports per 100,000 movements

While the absolute number of incident reports decreased due to the drop in traffic, the number of reports per 100,000 movements increased from 148 in 2019 to 167 in 2020, demonstrating once again the progression of the safety and reporting culture.

Number of incidents reported by skeyes air traffic controllers


The most frequently reported incidents

The top three places in the ranking of the most reported events are occupied by incidents completely unrelated to the mission of skeyes, but the reporting of which is required by European legislation: interference with wildlife (154) tops the list ahead of ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) transmissions (128) and technical problems on aircraft (102) reported by pilots.

In 4th position, call sign confusion incidents increased by 45.4% compared to 2019 (64 events versus 44). This increase is being closely monitored by skeyes’ Safety Management Unit and could be due in part to the additional traffic at Liege Airport due to the health crisis.

Thanks to the coordinated efforts of skeyes, the BCAA and the police, incidents relating to the blinding of pilots with laser pointers, which are in 5th place, continued to decrease in 2020: 56 events were reported in 2020 compared to 79 in 2019, a 29.1% decrease.

The incidents for which skeyes may be considered responsible, include airspace infringements. Linked to the volume of traffic and mainly due to general aviation or leisure traffic (VFR – visual flight rules), these incidents decreased by 50.5% in 2020 (52 events in 2020 compared to 105 in 2019).

Another type of incident that directly concerns skeyes’ safety performance: runway incursions. In 2020, 27 runway incursions were reported, compared to 26 the previous year, a slight increase of 3.8%. However, there was a decrease in the involvement of skeyes, confirmed for six of these incursions (i.e. 22% of them) compared to seven in 2019 (27%). It should be noted that there had already been a sharp decrease in this type of incident in 2019 (-42%).

A major indicator for assessing skeyes’ safety performance is the compliance with minimum separations between aircraft.


incidents relating to non-compliance with safety distances between aircraft


non-compliance with minimum separations between aircraft attributable to skeyes

While there were 44 in 2019, only 10 such incidents were reported in 2020, a decrease of 77.3%.

In 2020, only 8 incidents involving drones flying in unauthorised areas were reported.

Of the 933 incidents reported, investigations established that skeyes bore responsibility in 37 of them, of which more than 73% (27) were category E, that is to say without any impact on the level of safety.



investigations into safety-related events were conducted by skeyes in 2020



safety reminders



safety recommendations

The most frequently reported incidents in 2020 vs 2019