...As Midair Investigation Continues
Yesterday, Skyguide scaled back flights by 40 percent in Zurich airspace, to help ensure security and out of consideration for its workers. A quarter of Skyguide's Zurich staff did not report for work. Skyguide had been heavily criticized in the wake of the midair collision. Investigators found that only one controller was on duty while his colleague took a break, a collision-alert system was down for maintenance, and a phone warning from German controllers never get through. The Russian pilot of a Bashkirian Airlines Tu-154 was told by the controller to descend, although his onboard anti-collision system was telling him to climb. The pilot obeyed the controller and descended, colliding with the DHL cargo plane, a Boeing 757. The DHL flight with two pilots on board was also descending. Two weeks after the crash, the controller said in a statement that network errors had been to blame. Yesterday the company said in a statement, "Skyguide employees are in a state of shock and fury and are deeply shaken by the murder of their colleague and friend." Officials have stepped up protection for the second controller who was on duty the night of the crash, as well as for other Skyguide staff. The official report on the crash is expected next month.