Airspace infringements

Airspace infringement occurs when an aircraft enters notified airspace without previously requesting and obtaining clearance from the controlling authority of that airspace, or enters the airspace under conditions that were not contained in the clearance.

Notified Airspace includes controlled airspace structures in ICAO airspace classes A to E, such as AirwaysTerminal Control Areas (TMAs), Control Zones (CTRs) or aerodrome traffic zones (ATZ) outside controlled airspace, as well as restricted airspaces, such as danger areasrestricted areasprohibited areas and temporary segregated/reserved areas.

Airspace violations, or 'airspace infringements', occur when aircraft fly into controlled airspace without permission from air traffic control. These are almost always small aircraft that fly under visual flight conditions (VFR). Since Lelystad Airport became controlled airspace (November 2019), many pilots have flown into this area without permission. This explains the large increase in the number of airspace violations since 2019/2020. The increase in 2022 was mainly caused by an increase in the number of airspace violations at Schiphol TMA and at the airports of Maastricht and Groningen. At Rotterdam The Hague Airport the number remained stable, at Lelystad Airport there is a downward trend. For further explanation on the nature of the different severity categories, see the summary definitions and criteria for different European indicators.

Most airspace violations have no direct effect on safety due to the absence of other traffic in the airspace in question. However, sometimes an airspace infringement leads to loss of separation with a controlled aircraft. These violations are classified as more serious occurrences. This occurred thirteen times in 2022, of which in four cases less than half of the minimum required separation remained (2021: eleven and two respectively). We note a significant increase in the number of airspace infringements throughout 2022.