Panel Recommends Anti-Missile Systems for Commercial Planes - NEW YORK (AP)

A White House commission formed after the explosion of TWA Flight 800 is recommending that anti-missile defense systems be installed on som...

A White House commission formed after the explosion of TWA Flight 800 is recommending that anti-missile defense systems be installed on some commercial planes because of fears of terrorist attacks, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

The summary of the draft of recommendations comes amid a probe into what caused the July 1996 explosion of Flight 800. Investigators have not determined whether a missile, a bomb, or a mechanical malfunction caused the crash, which killed all 230 people aboard the Paris-bound Boeing 747.

The draft of the report calls on the Defense Department and the Federal Aviation Administration to work with airlines and defense contractors to install electronic antimissile-defense systems on "civil aircraft facing the greatest threat" from would-be terrorists using surface-to-air missiles, the report said.

It did not say which aircraft were deemed most at risk.

Other safety proposals include more detailed inspections of aging aircraft and new fees for upgrading air traffic control systems.

Lobbyists for U.S. airlines, including American Airlines and Northwest Airlines, have already objected to the draft on grounds the proposals will cost too much to enact, the report said.

The commission that prepared the draft of the White House air safety report is headed by Vice President Al Gore. The wording may yet be changed in the final version, which the Journal said could be released as early as Feb. 11.

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