Interruption occurs when a supposedly-smooth sailing continuation of a series of procedures/processes is broken.

Distraction causes undesirable diversion of concentration/focus onto unnecessary individual/event/incident/item from the important task on hand.

Human Factors Concerns

Unnecessary diversion of concentration on the main task, especially at an important operational phase could lead to undesirable errors or mistakes.

1) Failure to read a particular essential procedure/ checklist item

2) Failure to adopt an initially-intended action

Possible Situations for Interruption/ Distraction to Occur:


1) The flight crews of an uneventful flight receive a sudden whining of a malfunction/warning alarm activation/ cabin crew call alert.

2) The Air Traffic Controller (ATC) receive a unexpected phone call or colleague message, informing of a detection of possible airspace intrusion or level bust.


1) Unnecessary conversation/ noise

2) Uncomfortable working position

Prevention Efforts

1) Assure equipment reliability to avoid unnecessary failure during operation

2) Dedicate efforts to provide a comfortable and efficient working positions for employees

3) Instill Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to highlight the appropriate behaviours to display at certain points of the operation

4) Instill Crew/Team Resource Management training programmes to train employees to utilise their available resources effectively and efficiently, as well as to promote good decision making, intercommunication, cognitive and leadership skills.


EUROCONTROL. (2010). Interruption or distraction. Retrieved 11 September 2010, from

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