19 February 2004
AMSTERDAM — A KLM plane and a Swiss International aircraft almost collided in the skies above France on Wednesday morning as the two jets came within 300m of each other.
A distance of 300m is considered very close in aviation terms, but a KLM spokesman said there was no danger and that both planes were kept informed of the other’s presence.
The spokesman also said that an investigation has been launched into the incident at the request of KLM and Swiss. “These sorts of things are not allowed to happen,” he said.
Media reports said both the KLM flight and the Swiss airline were en route from New York to Zurich and flew too close to each other in the area above the French city Reims.
The Dutch plane diverged from its path when pilots sighted the Swiss plane, news agency ANP reported.
Air traffic controllers in Paris were on strike this week, but it is not yet certain if the industrial action contributed to the near miss. Staff were expected to return to work on Thursday after unions reached a deal with the French Transport Ministry late on Wednesday.
The strike started at Paris Orly Airport and spread to Charles de Gaulle airport, also in Paris, in protest against plans to relocate staff at the Orly airport.
The financially troubled airline Swiss International was formed at the start of 2002 after the collapse of the much larger Swissair, while KLM is in better shape and is set to enter into a merger with Air France.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news