Belgocontrol acted correctly during the incident on 5 October 2016

The independent report on an incident at Brussels Airport where two aircraft flew too closely to one another, confirms that Belgocontrol has acted entirely correctly according to all conventional instructions.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


On 5 October 2016 an aircraft took off from runway 07R, against the directives of the air traffic controller who was working at that time. Moreover, a different aircraft was simultaneously descending in order to land on runway 01. The air traffic controller immediately ordered the landing aircraft to abort its landing and perform a go-around. That is standard procedure where the aircraft, instead of landing, climbs to a limited height and then approaches again to land according to the procedures. 


As is the case for each serious incident or accident in aviation, this occurrence has been investigated by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU). That unit examines the facts and hears all the parties involved before drawing conclusions and making recommendations so as to prevent similar incidents in the future. The report of the AAIU was published toay. It clearly states that Belgocontrol has acted correctly throughout the incident. The air traffic controller’s decision to reroute the landing aircraft was the only right one that could have been made.


The Belgian Civil Aviation Authority and the Minister of Mobility Bellot had already previously stated that the runway choice at that time complied with the instructions. Because of the wind direction and speed, runways 07R and 01 had to be used at that moment. 


Johan Decuyper, Belgocontrol CEO: “Once again, it has been demonstrated that our air traffic controllers act professionally and correctly, even in difficult circumstances. In that way, we guarantee the safety of air traffic on a daily basis, a mission that is often underestimated. This kind of incidents clearly illustrates that. Last year not a single category A (‘serious’) or B (‘important’) incident was registered for which Belgocontrol was responsible”.