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A call to fit equipment to prevent collisions between aircraft has been turned down by the Civil Aviation Authority in response to a report of a near miss over Biggin Hill in Kent. The collision was only averted by the quick thinking of an air traffic controller and the aircraft came within 200 feet vertically, and 1,000 feet horizontally, which is well below the normal safety requirements.

The independent joint air proximity assessment panel, which investigates near misses between aircraft recommended that all aircraft should be fitted with a Traffic Collision Avoidance System, following its finding that there was a serious risk of collision between two aircraft. In its response, the CAA said that the matter was being dealt with at a European level and the fitting of TCAS equipment had a target date of January 2000. Christian Wolmar