Press Notice
Friday 5th November 1999



ETSC is calling today for effective EU initiatives to manage risks in and around airports.

In the last 10 years, over 80 per cent of jet aircraft fleet crashes globally occurred during take off and landing phases. These accounted for 58 per cent of all deaths onboard and all third party deaths.

Recent trends in technology, traffic growth (predicted 168 per cent increase over 20 years) and the environment are converging to increase exposure to risk.

Currently, there is a strong trend towards privatisation of airports and Air Traffic Services providers. Airports in many European countries are not licensed primarily because they are, or used to be state-owned. Accountability for safety in and around airports is, at present, too diffuse to facilitate an effective response to the emerging safety issues.

ETSC's principal recommendations for action at EU level are being circulated today to air safety policymakers and professionals throughout the European Union are:

  • Mandatory airport licensing (including a requirement to establish, maintain and ensure compliance with an integrated safety management programme involving all relevant partners);
  • Mandatory collection of data on ground-based incidents;
  • Mandatory inclusion of third party risk in Environmental Impact Statements for airports;
  • Common standards for the safety assessment of operations.
  • Research to bridge current gaps in knowledge.

Professor Peter Jorna (NLR), Chairman of ETSC's Air Safety Working Party said: "The purpose of our briefing is twofold. Firstly it is to draw attention to the concerns of independent air safety experts about emerging trends and the challenges they pose for safety in and around airports. Secondly, to put forward an agenda of possible EU actions for consideration by policymakers and airport authorities. "

Dr. Nick McDonald (Trinity College, Dublin), a contributor to the ETSC safety policy briefing said: "In view of the multi-organisational nature of risks in the operation of airports, the lack of a mechanism to integrate safety standards and practices and the different actors in and around the airport has a potentially detrimental effect on safety."

Dieter Koch MEP (Co-chairman of ETSC's Main Council): "Safety in and around airports is clearly a key issue which needs to be addressed at European level. Steps need to be taken now to ensure that the risk areas around these hubs of the air transport system are properly managed to ensure the future safety of air industry personnel, passengers and local residents."

Mark Watts MEP (Co-chairman of ETSC's Main Council) said: "The third party risk to people living around airports is comparable to the risk around chemical plants, which are strictly regulated. An EU airport licensing framework would provide the strict regulatory oversight which is so badly needed "

For further information contact:
ETSC Brussels office: + 32 (0)2 230 4106
Prof. Peter Jorna (NL) + 31 20 511 3638
Dr. Michel Piers (NL) + 31 20 511 3439
Dr. Nick McDonald (IRE) + 353 1 608 1471
Dr.Dieter Koch MEP (D) + 32 (0)2 284 5761
Mark Watts MEP (UK) + 32 (0)2 284 5568