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Growing number of near misses in Swiss airspace

Zurich is home to Switzerland's busiest airport

(Keystone Archive)

The number of near collisions involving aircraft crossing Swiss airspace doubled last year compared with the year before, air accident investigators said on Friday. Increased congestion in the skies was blamed for the increase.

The Swiss air accident investigation bureau said 51 air incidents were recorded in 2000, confirming a report in the "Blick" newspaper. Of that number, 22 incidents were considered near misses. In a further 14 cases collision was considered possible.

In 1999, 11 near collisions were recorded.

"We are registering more and more near collisions," bureau head Jean Overnay told "Blick", adding that his office investigated all such cases.

Planes flying in the same direction are considered to be too close if the vertical distance between them is less than 300 metres and the horizontal distance less than nine kilometres.

Overnay said it wasn't possible to state with any certainty why the number of air incidents had increased so dramatically. But he said the more flights there were, the higher the rate of incidents recorded.

According to the bureau 1.35 million flights crossed Swiss airspace in 2000.

swissinfo with agencies


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