Worries over safety at Cambridge Airport
Posted: June 8, 2014
Posted in: Accidents and Sickness Abroad Public Transport
A recent investigation has made some worrying findings regarding staff and passenger safety at Cambridge International Airport. The BBC investigation gathered evidence from leaked emails and two whistleblowers, which both highlighted major concerns about the condition of the airport’s equipment and the state of the runway. Furthering this, findings also revealed that air traffic controllers were working excessive hours and that under-qualified staff were being used due to staff shortages.
One former airport worker told the BBC that problems at the airport had been ongoing for many years. Between May and September of last year, one airport manager warned bosses that air traffic controllers were unable to carry out their work properly, or safely, as a result of “chronic staff shortages”. On top of this, it was found that the airport’s landing aids, including radar, were all antique and often fail completely.
“Very very very close to a collision”
With Cambridge airspace being particularly busy, over the last four years the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has had to carry out numerous investigations – known as Air Proximity Reports – due to fourteen near misses happening in the skies around the city. One incident saw a helicopter coming within feet of a vintage aircraft at 1,500ft, while another incident saw two jets being “very very very close to a collision”.
One pilot said: “When you saw a large aircraft taking off you could see parts of the runway lifting up behind it”. A former aviation security editor, Chris Yates, was shown the BBC’s findings and said: “I’ve never in the 20-plus years I’ve been doing this job heard anything quite so dramatic”.
Cambridge International Airport bosses argued that safety was in no way being compromised at the airport.
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