News & Articles

May 2015

  • Russia’s “silent” flights are a high risk to civilian air traffic, says EU

    Russia’s “silent” flights are a high risk to civilian air traffic, says EU

    By TERI SCHULTZ BRUSSELS – NATO has repeatedly reported an “unusual level of air activity” since March 2014 by Russian military aircraft flying near – and occasionally inside – European airspace with the aircrafts’ transponders turned off and, in most cases, no flight plan filed in advance as is standard practice. But the practice is becoming less and less “unusual”. According to NATO statistics, such incidents occurred four times more in 2014 than in 2013, with allied jets scrambling more than 400 times to intercept Russian aircraft last year. Thus, this “activity” is starting to look like routine business for the Kremlin. And according to the European Leadership Network (ELN), a security research institute based in London, which has compiled a year-long summary of the Russian behaviour, this poses “evident danger for serious military escalation”. Aside from the risk of military confrontation, these unannounced intrusions into civil airspace have obvious implications for commercial aviation: European air-traffic controllers can’t instruct flights to avoid Russian planes they can’t detect. Faced with numerous near-misses, the European Commission instructed its European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in November to look into possible hazards to airline safety. The result of this effort is a... Read More »
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