A German court has ruled the state is liable for a 2002 crash between a Russian passenger jet and a cargo plane that killed 71 people. It found that Germany breached its constitution in subcontracting airspace control to the private Swiss firm Skyguide, and that it’s responsible for compensation for the tragedy that occurred close to the border with Switzerland.
A court spokesman said that the Federal Republic had failed to monitor what Skyguide was doing or try to intervene. In July 2002, Skyguide was operating with a single air traffic controller who told the pilot of the Russian Tupolev plane to descend to avoid a collision, even though early-warning instruments aboard the plane had told the pilots to climb. The DHL Boeing cargo aircraft automatic anti-collision system also instructed its pilots to descend to the same level.
The court ruled that Skyguide operated with what it called “severe organisational deficiencies”. It added that the amount of compensation to be paid to Russia’s Bashkirian airlines had yet to be decided. .