PRC workshop - Future Challenges to Safety

Rationale and background

The primary goal of the ATM system is to control safety risks, although in practice developments are often dominated by changes made to improve capacity, efficiency and cost of the system. ATM safety has improved over the past decades for many reasons, including better equipment, more efficient operations and additional safety defenses and mitigation tools.

However, any further improvement of current safety performance, and even maintaining the current levels, will be extremely demanding due to numerous technological and institutional changes in the future and rising levels of traffic.

To address important future questions, the Performance Review Commission (PRC) initiated a discussion with safety experts in EUROCONTROL Member States and other international organisations in early 2020. The objective was to collect a wide spectrum of expert views on future challenges to safety and how to identify and measure potential risks in a changing ATM environment.


Building on this initial exchange, the PRC held a workshop on 29 June 2020 to deepen the discussion.

The workshop should only be seen as a starting point in defining safety performance objectives/focus areas for the future ATM system. The Workshop itself should serve as a platform to collect intelligence about “what do we know” and “what is available”.

A PRC technical note on what this future work could be and how to establish it, is foreseen by the end of this year.

In addition to the workshop, several experts and researchers were asked for their opinion from different perspectives. The articles are included in the first edition of the PRC’s Performance Insight on the “Future challenges to Safety”.


The PRC has made every effort to ensure that the information and analysis contained in this document are as accurate and complete as possible. Despite these precautions, should you find any errors or inconsistencies we would be grateful if you could please bring them to the Aviation Intelligence Unit’s attention.