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City airport named in report on safety fear.

Byline: By DEAN VALLER dean.valler@mrn.co.uk

COVENTRY Airport has been named in a report which raises concerns about safety.

The UK Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers says it is worried about the growth of low-cost flights from UK airports.

It is worried that airports including Coventry are using equipment different to that used by other flight operators. Thomsonfly started flights out of Coventry in March, travelling to 11 European destinations and expecting to carry 550,000 passengers in its first year.

The report says there needs to be a comprehensive review of all low-cost flights to ensure safety.

The report adds: "These airports lack protection of controlled airspace in which all flights are known to air traffic control and are under their control." It says it is concerned that an increase in flights because of expansion at airports where airspace is "inadequate" will result in "an increased risk of safety-related incidents".

Birmingham Airport, where Bmibaby has announced plans for more flights, and Doncaster and Kent airports, are also criticised.

A spokesman for Birmingham Airport said all of its flights were licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority. He said: "Aircraft safety is of paramount importance to us and at no stage would we allow our passengers to be put at increased risk."

Coventry Airport managing director Bill Savage said: "The guild of air traffic controllers is not a safety inspectorate or a body which regulates these matters.

"The Civil Aviation Authority together with the National Air Traffic Service deal with all air space and safety matters. Coventry Airport is regularly inspected by both of these bodies and the airport has no adverse safety issues whatsoever."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 27, 2004
Words:278
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