Airspace Infringement and Briefing

Airspace Infringement and Briefing


Airspace infringement occurs when an aircraft penetrates an area into which special clearance is required without having such clearance.

A major cause of airspace infringement is lack of awareness of the presence of the controlled airspace or dangerrestricted or prohibited area concerned, or of its significance. This is usually due to poor pre-flight briefing.


  • Loss of Separation from other aircraft, which may result in collision.
  • Exposure to danger from military hazards, e.g. radiation, gun-firing or manoeuvring high-performance aircraft.
  • Perceived security risk, if prohibited area is penetrated, which may result in military action.
  • Damage to ground installations within prohibited areas, including vulnerable animals.
  • Disruption of military or other special activities within restricted, danger or prohibited airspace.


Typical Scenarios

  • A pilot plans a flight along a route, avoiding sensitive airspace. Due to a navigational error he deviates from his intended track and penetrates a danger area which he had not plotted on his chart;
  • A pilot plans to fly beneath an airway but fails to note the lower level of activity. Due to weather, he climbs and enters the airway.

Contributory Factors

  • Insufficient emphasis on the importance of pre-flight briefing during training;
  • Lack of, or difficult to use briefing facilities at the departure aerodrome;
  • Inaccurate navigation;
  • Weather.


  • Improve airspace infringement awareness;
  • Improve standard of pilot training including emphasis on the importance of pre-flight briefing;
  • Develop technological solutions such as Area Proximity Warning (APW) and radar coverage, especially Lower Airspace Radar Service, in areas prone to airspace infringement;
  • Review airspace design where airspace infringement occurs with the objective of removing the cause of incidents, e.g. choke areas.

Related Articles

Further Reading

EUROCONTROL Airspace Infringement Initiative

EUROCONTROL Guidance Notes for GA pilots

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