Mon 27/9/99, Channel 4
Audience: 3.11m (15th) BARB

Near Miss

Near Miss investigated the congestion over the skies of New York's three busy airports. While airlines and travel firms find ways of getting more aircraft in the skies at once, Air Traffic Control appears to be running on the same staffing levels and antiquated equipment as years ago. At its busiest time La Guardia deals with over 200 planes taking-off or arriving in one hour on its criss-cross runways. With this traffic likely to double in the next fifteen years and with no limit on the number of planes any airline can run to the airports, it's no wonder the controllers are getting stressed. Stacking also is a problem illustrated only too well by the captain who failed to alert the controllers that his plane was out of fuel - allowing his plane to be put on another 15-mile circuit, all engines failed and the plane ploughed into a hillside. As a borderline flying phobiac this is not the sort of programme I should watch. Sobering. ****

[The Essential Guide to the Weather - Eurotrash - Heartbeat - Hello Mum]

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1999 Alan J. Stuart All rights reserved