Developing the Back-Up Plan

Effective contingency planning is a fundamental requirement of ANS, even the most reliable systems can fail. Helios conducted a systematic review of Belgocontrol’s current contingency provisions to help them plan for the unexpected.


Belgocontrol provides Air Navigation Services (ANS) in Belgium.


Even the most reliable systems in the world can fail, as such, effective contingency planning is an absolute fundamental requirement of ANS. Following an unexpected shutdown of Belgian airspace, the Belgocontrol Board of Directors launched several projects to improve risk management and contingency provisions.

Role of Helios

Helios were contracted to conduct a systematic review of current contingency provisions. The scope of the work covered the whole of ANS, the en-route centre and five Tower units, contingency policy, planning and implementation, covering both operational and technical aspects.

What are the overall strengths and weaknesses in Belgocontrol's contingency provisions? What lessons can be learnt from the experience of other ANSPs? These questions, along with many others, were answered by Helios in a detailed report to inform the Belgocontrol Board of the risks associated with current contingency provisions and to provide a corresponding set of recommendations.

To achieve this Helios carried out a review of the coverage and effectiveness of Belgocontrol's contingency provisions for ANS and analysed how Belgocontrol compares to good practice in contingency planning, as defined by the EUROCONTROL guidelines. The work also identified contingency scenarios where specific vulnerability existed.


The recommendations produced can be divided into two distinct sections:

Firstly, high-level recommendations for the Belgocontrol Board and senior management to address in order to ensure that a comprehensive and effective contingency planning framework is in place.

Secondly, specific recommendations that individual units could address to clarify and improve contingency provisions.

For further information on this project please contact Adam Parkinson.

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