Brazilian ATC Hangs Up on Pope

By Robert Mark on May 15th, 2007

This story would actually be funny if it weren’t such a sad reminder of miserable state of air traffic control in Brazil.

When Pope Benedict left Brazil on Sunday aboard an Alitalia flight, he wanted to send one final good will message to his followers. Passing through Recife Center, the pilots thought the best way to send the Pope’s greetings would be through ATC.

For some 28 minutes, the Alitalia crews calls to Brazilian ATC went unanswered according to a local radio enthusiast who listened in on the broadcast.

Worst of all, the crew never did make direct contact with ATC. The message ended was eventually relayed back through a TAM aircraft that was able to hear the airliner.

Imagine what might have happened if the Pope’s aircraft had been in distress.

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2 Responses to “Brazilian ATC Hangs Up on Pope”

  1. ian Says:

    Is this the same ATC that was controlling the airspace
    when that midair accident happened?

  2. Robert Mark Says:

    I’m afraid so.

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