The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has released its latest annual review, noting the “strong desire to travel by air” suggested by the 93% return to 2019 levels of European air traffic.

Although executive director Patrick Ky reiterated that aviation is the “safest form of transport” and celebrated another year in the EU without major accidents, he said the success “should not blind us to possible threats”. In fact, Ky said the industry was “fortunate” that the delays and congestion at European airports in the summer of 2022 did not result in safety issues or worse. 

But Ky noted the challenges and risks faced by the aviation industry in 2023, with emphasis on the work being done across Europe to mitigate and avoid potential risks. 

“The aviation landscape is ever-changing and… new challenges continue to emerge. Hazards such as cyber-security vulnerabilities, war at the borders of the European Union, the entry of new operators, as well as rapid advancements in technology… the Agency works closely with the European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell and our other European partners,” Ky wrote. 

Outside of Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine, a major challenge to every industry in 2023 is the preparation for the so-called AI revolution. 

“EASA is steadfast in preparing the aviation system to embrace digitalisation and artificial intelligence responsibly. We are committed to harnessing the potential of these innovations to further enhance safety while safeguarding against any potential risks they may bring,” EASA said.

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