Switzerland’s transport safety authority reports an increase in serious violations of air safety regulations that could have potentially led to collisions.
According the 2016 annual report of the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board released end of July, the number of aviation incidents are on the decrease (1,219 in 2016 vs 1,260 in 2015). However, a closer look at the nature of such violations of best flying practices reveals a more startling picture. A total of 13 aviation incidents with a high risk of collision (airproxes) were investigated in 2016 compared to just five the year before. Overall, flying in 2016 was more risky than the year before.
Most of the incidents involved Zurich airspace and problems with incompatibility of alert systems of small aircraft. A significant increase in drone-related incidents are on the rise but this could be attributed to the growth in drone sales. The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) estimates that up to 20,000 commercial and private drones exist in Switzerland.
A FOCA representative told the SonntagsZeitung paper that it was aware of the increase in aviation incidents. Transport Minister Doris Leuthard has instructed FOCA to completely restructure Switzerland's airspace to meet current and future needs. Flight schools and clubs will also be targeted for awareness campaigns.
swissinfo.ch and agencies