Safety performance of other aviation domains in 2019

These include ATC, aerodromes, ground handling and drone activities.

The number of separation minima infringements with ATC contribution showed an increase in 2019 after having decreased several years in a row. The number of these cases (47) also exceeded the longer-term average (38.5). The greatest increase was recorded in infringements of a separation minimum between aircraft, or between aircraft and different types of controlled airspace. The number of actual infringements of a separation minimum between aircraft (radar separation or wake vortex separation) only increased slightly. According to data for 2019, the traffic volume went up in Area Control Centre Finland but decreased at airports.

The number of runway incursions with ATC contribution (6) went down compared to 2018 (10). A decrease was recorded at Helsinki-Vantaa airport, in particular (from 5 to 2). The total number is now more or less on par with the longer-term average.

The number of runway incursions caused by ground vehicles was 18 in 2019, which is slightly more than the year before but similar to the longer-term average.

One serious incident occurred in ground handling during the year, in which the airstair moved during boarding and a passenger almost fell off.

Drone operations have increased steadily since 2015, and this has been reflected every year in the number of Airprox incidents, in particular. The parties to these near misses have typically been a drone and an aircraft engaged in commercial air transport. While many of them have led to serious incidents, collisions have been avoided.
In 2019, the increase in the number of reported near misses caused by drone operations stalled and started decreasing: 15 situations were reported in Finland, whereas this figure was 23 the year before. Outside Finland, the number of incidents involving a Finnish aircraft and a drone was the same as last year (8).

Almost all of the Airprox incidents were reported by aircraft pilots. However, the drones usually are relatively small and difficult to observe from the cockpit, and it is possible that the number of these incidents is higher than what the reports indicate. The increase in the number of near misses has continued for several years, and the fact that it was curbed in 2019 was in any case a positive result, especially considering the growing volume of drone operations.

Traficom strives to contribute to improving the safety of drone operations, for instance by means of the Droneinfo application as well as newsletters and safety bulletins. It is also believed that the European regulation to enter into force in summer 2020 will improve the safety performance.