EU Safety Body Examines Near Misses Between Airliners, Warplanes

The European Aviation Safety Agency said it will investigate what it called near mid-air collisions in recent months between European passenger airliners and military aircraft whose transponders had been deactivated.

The incidents occurred over the sea “at the border of the European Union,” EASA said in a statement today. The regulator will examine the issue at the request of the European Commission in a bid to establish “appropriate solutions and follow-up measures to address such events at the European level.”

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last month that there been 400 intercepts of Russian military flights this year, up 50 percent from 2013, and that jets flying without sharing their flight plans posed a danger to commercial air traffic.

EASA didn’t identify any airlines or possible countries of origin for the military aircraft. The fact that radio transponders were deactivated made it impossible to establish contact and in turn “may have caused an immediate safety hazard to civil aviation,” the safety body said.

The agency said it will present its recommendations to the European Commission in March 2015.

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