Aircraft proximities

How safe is flying? The answer does not depend on how you interpret the question. Instead, it is a matter for the experts to clarify. In keeping with an ICAO recommendation, the Aircraft Proximity Evaluation Group (APEG) was founded in Germany. It is an independent group of experts comprising representatives from the airlines, general aviation, the German Air Force and air navigation services. Under the leadership of the Federal Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services (BAF), the APEG investigates aircraft proximities which are reported as safety-related by flight crews and air traffic controllers. In other words, the cases in which at least one person felt in danger or considered safety to be jeopardised.

These aircraft proximities are analysed and evaluated in terms of cause and potential risk. The development of APEG figures in the long term shows that the safety level in air traffic has continuously improved. Although the traffic volume in 1975 was less that a quarter of that today, the APEG at the time assigned 210 aircraft proximities to categories A and B. Today there are approximately 3.15 million flights in German airspace. Yet the APEG figures have dropped significantly. Since 2003, the number of category A and B aircraft proximities has remained at a single-digit level.