Near-miss sparks new air traffic control surveillance

Near-miss sparks new air traffic control surveillance
Photo: DPA
Germany's DFS air traffic authority is planning to record internal discussions between their control tower employees after an embarrassing near-collision in Frankfurt last month, daily Frankfurter Rundschau reported on Tuesday.

The incident has fuelled debate over how the tax-funded DFS, which employs some 5,300 workers, is managed.

The new programme, intended to ease criticism, begins a ten-month test phase in April and will be conducted at the DFS control centre in Langen before it is approved by the works council, a spokesperson told the paper. It includes monitoring radio and telephone contact between pilots and air traffic control and discussions between air traffic employees, to be used for evaluation in the case of an accident.

New safety measures are in reaction to the suspension of three air traffic control tower employees and a flight data analyst at the Frankfurt Airport. The four employees were held responsible for the near-collision of a Cessna and a Boeing 737 on July 18.

Because the control tower was not occupied when the close call occurred, the four employees were accused of “blatant violation of the regulations.” According to the DFS, the control tower employees knew nothing of the incident until pilots in the planes informed them afterwards.

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