US must address alarming rise in aviation close calls – officials
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Wednesday the United States cannot wait for the next “catastrophic event” to address an uptick in aviation close calls that has sparked alarm. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) held a day-long a safety summit on Wednesday outside Washington with airlines, unions, airports and others after numerous recent near-miss incidents on runways have raised safety concerns.
“We can’t wait for the next catastrophic event,” Buttigieg said. “We have seen an uptick in serious close calls that we must address together. Initial information suggests more mistakes than usual are happening across the system.” The FAA said it had not identified any specific trend or reason to indicate why the rise in close calls was occurring, but added it planned to reexamine runway incursion data to identify underlying factors that led to the incidents and to identify remedies.
In a summary of the meeting, the FAA said it had asked industry to help identify technologies that could enhance the existing equipment capabilities and deploy it to all airports with air traffic control services. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy said the board had previously issued seven recommendations on runway collisions that had not been acted on.
“There have been far too many close calls,” Homendy said at the summit. “These recent incidents must serve as a wake-up call.” In a “call to action” memo last month, Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said he was forming a safety review team. The FAA said the members of that panel and scope…