Private Flights Blamed For Israel Near Midairs

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Comparing the region to the airspace over metropolitan New York, an Israeli Air Force officer told the Jerusalem Post that private and chartered aircraft sometimes fly recklessly and are the main source of aerial dangers in Israel. A booming aviation economy has its bonuses, but the officer involved in coordinating joint military/civilian use of airspace says that while flight operations there have doubled in the past two years, the expansion has not come without consequence. Two incidents within the past month -- one involving an F-16 and an Arkia airliner, another involving a private airplane and an Arkia aircraft -- have pushed midair safety to the headlines in the public eye. Minimum vertical separation in some areas of Israel is 400 feet, and new radar and monitoring systems installed at some airfields are being used to combat the problem. "We also restrict the number of aircraft allowed in the air at the same time," the official said.