Dangerous Skies Over Delhi

It's air safety vs. bureaucracy. Guess who's winning?

For years, flying into India's international airports has been a game of chance. Low-paid, overworked air traffic controllers using antiquated radar are unable to verify the altitude of incoming and outgoing planes. Unreliable communications equipment disrupts transmissions with bursts of static. And pilots complain they cannot contact controllers while flying over much of India. Pilots hoped this would change after a horrendous midair collision in 1996 killed 349 people over New Delhi airport. Even as the crash occurred, engineers were installing $90 million worth of ultramodern traffic control equipment from Raytheon Co. for both the Delhi and Bombay airports.

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