Aircraft near-miss rate at six-year high due to congestion, says DGCA official
The congestion in skies because of more flights has resulted in an increase in the number of near misses, a Directorate General of Civil Aviation official said on Wednesday. The official, who asked not to be identified, said the number, expressed as a measure of how often a near-miss happens in 10,000 flights, was 0.15 in the year to October, the highest in the past six years.
The official said that till October, seven incidents of near misses or “airprox” were reported against five in 2017. In 2015 and 2016, the number was seven and eight respectively, he added.
An airprox (short for air proximity) is a situation in which, in the opinion of a pilot or air traffic controllers, the distance between aircraft or their relative positions and speeds suggest that their safety may have been compromised. “This was bound to happen as airports are air space are getting congested. Government need to take radical steps to improve the situation and should not wait for an air crash to happen,” said Mark Martin, CEO of Dubai based Martin consulting.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has classified these incidents into four types: A, for critical ones; B for serious, C for no hazard, and D for unclassified. “The correct way to calculate this data is to see airprox rate per 10,000 movements. The rates in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 were 0.11, 0.14, 0.06, 0.12 and 0.12 respectively. However, in January-October 2018 this number touched 0.15,” said the official.
On July 10, two IndiGo aircraft with nearly 330 passengers on board avoided a collision over Bengaluru after an automatically generated warning alerted the pilots of the planes. The official said the “wildlife strike rate per 10,000 (aircraft) movement” in January-October 2018 was 4.84. Between 2013 and 2017, this figure was at 5.64, 4.98, 4.72, 4.56 and 4.71 respectively.