Deregulation kills

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Jul 9 06:57:44 MDT 2002

The Ottawa Citizen, August 28, 1999, FINAL 

Traffic control woes delay European flights 

FRANKFURT, Germany -- From sushi bars to sex shops, Frankfurt Airport
offers travellers plenty of ways to occupy their time before flying. 

Yet there may be demand for even more: Nearly half of last month's flights
to and from the airport were delayed at least 15 minutes and some were
hours late. 

The tardiness is so severe that Lufthansa AG has begun keeping three jets
with crews on standby here just to fill in for flights that are seriously
delayed. All three replacement jets have been busy, the airline says. In
skies across Europe, unprecedented numbers of passenger flights are
overloading the region's fragmented air traffic control system. 

A surge in flights packed with vacationers heading for the Mediterranean
has added to the strain. Holiday travel increased just as the skies were
clearing of disruptions caused by NATO's spring offensive in the Balkans. 

''We have once again reached a crisis situation,'' said Emanuela Petracchi,
a Geneva-based spokeswoman for the International Air Transport Association,
an airline trade group. 



NY Times, July 9, 2002

Controller Sent Jets Into Crash, Flight Data Show

FRANKFURT, July 8 — Information from the flight recorders aboard the two
planes that crashed into each other one week ago over southern Germany show
that a Swiss air traffic controller in effect put the planes on a collision
course by ordering the Russian pilot to descend at the same time that the
plane's own collision-avoidance system was urging him to climb.

The new data, released today by German investigators, show that the two
planes' automated systems communicated with each other exactly as they were
meant to do and that the accident would probably not have occurred if the
Russian pilot had simply ignored the Swiss controller in Zurich. The
collision killed 52 Russian schoolchildren and 19 adults.

In addition, German investigators said German controllers saw danger nearly
two minutes before the crash and desperately tried to warn the controllers
in Zurich, who had responsibility for both planes. 

Air controllers in the German city of Karlsruhe said they had received only
busy signals every time they tried to call Zurich, even when they used a
special priority line.

The disclosures by the German Federal Agency for the Investigation of Air
Accidents strongly suggested that Zurich's air traffic control center was
understaffed, overwhelmed and befuddled with technical glitches just before
the crash. Only one traffic controller was on duty for that sector at the
time of the crash. 

Last weekend, Swiss officials announced that they were putting into effect
a 20 percent reduction in air traffic over Switzerland, which, given the
country's pivotal role in directing flights throughout Europe, is likely to
disrupt service across the continent. The announcement was made by the
privatized Swiss air traffic company, Skyguide.


Louis Proyect
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