Number of passenger planes in near misses decreases


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The Independent Online

The annual number of near misses between passenger aircraft is falling, figures out today showed.

But total near misses - described as aircraft proximity (airprox) incidents - rose in 2010.

The increase, from 147 in 2009 to 167 in 2010, was largely due to an upturn in conflicts between military and general aviation (light) aircraft, the UK Airprox Board said.

Airprox incidents involving two commercial aircraft totalled only five last year, compared with 11 in 2009 and well down on the early years of the decade which included 39 in 2002.

All told, there were 35 incidents involving passenger aircraft last year, with most being near misses with military or light aircraft.

For the first time in 10 years, none of the passenger aircraft incidents was in the most serious airprox category where there was an actual risk of collision.

UK Airprox Board director Ian Dugmore said: "The continuous downward trend in airprox incidents involving passenger aircraft is very welcome news indeed.

"The increase in the number of occurrences involving military and/or general aviation aircraft is not such good news but is offset somewhat by the increased percentage of these airprox in which there was assessed to be no risk of collision.

"If this reflects an increased willingness to report relatively minor incidents, it is a very welcome trend since even benign occurrences may contain useful lessons."