Safety in the Skies

I've picked this up at a couple of places on the web and it's worth repeating.

A recent article at the BBC told the story of whistle-blower in Air Traffic Control who claimed that the controllers are deliberately sequencing aircraft closer than is necessary in order to meet targets for aircraft movements. He claims this is common-place and potentially impacts safety.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons.

1) From a process point of view, the process allows controllers leaway to do this sort of thing (apparently with the collusion of their management). Is this a process issue? Should there be stronger controls? Is the procedure designed well enough?
2) From a flying point of view, are we comfortable that the system can deal with aircraft being this close? I know that on several occasions flying in to Heathrow as a commercial passenger the aircraft has had to go-around because the plane in front hasn't vacated the runway yet. The go-around procedure is meant for just such an eventuality, but to need to do this due to air traffic issues is stretching a point, I feel.

So as a passenger would you rather arrive on time, but in a potentially risky situation, or later than advertised but safer? I know where my vote is going

Any thoughts or comments from you?

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