Integrating SMSs: Dutch safety probe urges more collaboration

An investigation by Dutch aviation safety officials found that all aviation stakeholders need to work closer together to maintain high safety levels at the international airport.

While it found no evidence to suggest that safety at Schiphol is inadequate, the investigation did reveal a number of safety risks that need to be tackled and Michiel van Dorst, chief executive of Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), said the recommendations are in line with a number of initiatives already started by the air navigation service provider.

He cited the training of air traffic controllers and the development of systems that, for example, give the air traffic controller in the tower an additional warning when an aircraft makes a go-around.

In the current situation, aviation stakeholders each have their own certified safety management system. The Dutch Safety Board advised better cooperation between the parties from these sectors, with the Schiphol Safety Platform having an important role in this regard. LVNL said it embraced this recommendation and, together with KLM and Schiphol Group, has already begun investigating the advantages of a coordinating, integrated safety system.

“This would put Schiphol in the lead worldwide,” said Van Dorst. “You need to keep looking at your own organisation, but also at how you can be more effective together. Aviation is the safest form of travel. This is a status we must keep earning. That is why this report contributes so much, in our opinion.”

The Dutch Safety Board also noted that further growth of Schiphol will require more than marginal adjustments to the existing policy.”This calls for a fundamental debate on the future of aviation in the Netherlands and on the options and limitations regarding Schiphol’s further growth,” it said.

In a statement, Dutch flag carrier KLM called the DSB report ‘beneficial’. “Safety is our top priority. For this reason, KLM has implemented a progressive, state-of-the-art safety management system. All operational choices made at KLM are assessed within this system, thereby ensuring that safety is our priority under all circumstances.”

“KLM shares the opinion of the DSB that safety at and around Schiphol of a high standard. KLM feels that the recommendations issued by the DSB provide a firm foundation for further improvement of the safety management system. KLM will closely scrutinise the study and looks forward to working with Air Traffic Control the Netherlands and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to further improve safety standards.”

The Dutch State has final responsibility for the integral safety of air traffic at and around the airport.

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