By Corina Meindl

A step closer to digital awareness: The EBAA Annual Safety Summit 2023

The Annual Safety Summit explored the most timely topics in the world of aviation safety, with a particular focus on digitalisation and cybersecurity.

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The EBAA’s Annual Safety Summit 2023 was a successful edition, with more than 80 attendees coming from all over Europe reuniting in Cologne to share their insights on the ever-evolving world of Business aviation safety. The rich programme focused on topics such as emergency preparedness, challenges of circling approaches, data sharing, cybersecurity and its implications on safety, incident prevention, GPS spoofing, and safety in medical flights.

Facing the challenge of digitalisation in Business aviation

The event started with keynote speeches by Stan Medved, Chairman of the EBAA Safety Committee, who emphasised the timeliness of this year’s theme, “Harvesting and leveraging the power of safety data,” highlighting the growing significance of data analytics in the data-driven landscape, particularly for addressing safety risks within the Business aviation sector, as well as sustainability.

Jesper Rasmussen, Flight Standards Director at EASA, drew the audience’s attention to the swift changes unfolding in aviation due to technological innovation, reshaping aspects like piloting, operations, and overall safety. He praised the sector for having all the features to be the test bed of future sustainable technologies and invited participants to seize the opportunities that digitalisation will bring to a dynamic sector such as  Business aviation.

Navigating the crucial intersection between safety and sustainability

The afternoon continued with a series of presentations, the first of which was delivered by Yngvi Yngvarson, Domain Safety Risk Portfolio at EASA, who shed some light on the Agency’s safety promotion initiatives and launched an invitation to the Business aviation stakeholders to join the online community. Thereafter, Suzy Gautrey, Group Safety Officer at LuxAviation and PhD Candidate at Coventry University presented the up-to-date findings of her research on emergency preparedness of Business aviation operators, showing the high-level preparedness of most operators.

Next, we heard from Tzvetomir Blajev, Europe and Global Operation Safety Director at the Flight Safety Foundation. Tzvetomir’s presentation showcased the process behind the production of the Global Plan for Prevention of Runway Incursions (GAPPRI). Taking a humorous approach to discussing a serious topic, Maxime Wauters, Managing Director of Climax Aviation, entertained the audience by exploring the not-so-hidden dangers of circling approaches. The first-day programme concluded with a presentation by Bruce Parry on behalf of Bombardier, who outlined a future trajectory for sustainable innovation within Business aviation, always having safety as the main priority.

Mastering data and cybersecurity to enhance Business aviation’s safety

The start of the second day brought together a panel of industry representatives, led by Colin Gill, Deputy Director of Civil Aviation at the Isle of Man Civil Aviation Administration, which focused on Flight Data Monitoring Programmes –  indispensable tools for being able to provide data for the EASA’’s Data4Safety programme. Continuing on the Data4Safety programme topic, Léopold Viroles, Data4Safety Programme Manager at EASA, delved into the details of the Data4Safety programme, a collaborative platform engaging a broad spectrum of aviation stakeholders. During the Q&A, several interventions from the audience confirmed that different actors within the business aviation sector would be willing to join D4S, recognising the safety benefits of this transformative data-sharing initiative.

On the second day’s afternoon, the spotlight shifted to the timely theme of cybersecurity. In the panel “Cybersecurity: Spotlight on GPS Spoofing”, Cyrille Rosay, EASA Senior Expert in Cybersecurity in Aviation, presented the current EASA initiatives to counter the challenges that seem to affect mostly business jets in areas characterised by geopolitical tensions. Expanding on the subject of cybersecurity, the panel “Compliance is not protection: Cybersecurity in business aviation”, featuring EASA representatives Gian Andrea Bandieri and Davide Martini, stood as a reminder that adhering to regulations is important but not necessarily sufficient to protect Business aviation from persistent and ever-evolving cybersecurity threats.

Following the two sessions dedicated to cybersecurity, the audience heard from Terry Yeomans, IS-BAH Programme Director at IBAC, who shared the impact of EASA revisiting the requirements targeting the ground handling community. Ryan Copeland, Regional Medical Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at MedAire, took the stage for the last session of EBAA’s Safety Summit, pointing out that safety in medical flights requires a combination of aviation and medical expertise, effective teamwork, and ongoing training and evaluation to deal with the multitude of factors that can affect patients’ safety.

Reflecting on the success of the Annual Safety Summit 2023 and looking ahead to 2024

The Safety Summit 2023 was one of the most engaging editions in the event’s long-lasting history. Once again, the safety community proved to be made of passion-driven professionals who have the continuous advancement of aviation safety always at their heart.

The EBAA team extends warm greetings to all panellists, speakers and attendees for offering engaging sessions filled with valuable insights for everyone.

Furthermore, a special thank you goes out to our main sponsors, BOMBARDIER, Gulfstream Aerospace, and MedAire, as well as our supporting sponsors, AeroEx – Aviation Regulatory Compliance and Safety Experts, Dassault Aviation, and Isle of Man Aircraft Registry, without whom our event would not have been possible.

We look forward to seeing you next year in Cologne for the Safety Summit 2024!

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