The US FAA holds runway safety meetings after close call incidents

A Southwest Airlines flight approaches San Diego International Airport as U.S. telecommunications companies, airlines and the FAA continue to debate the potential impact of 5G wireless services on in-flight electronics in San Diego, California, U.S., January 6, 2022, in San Diego, California. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File photo Get license rights

WASHINGTON, Aug 22 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday it will hold runway safety meetings at 90 airports over the next few weeks.

Earlier this month, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said they were investigating a collision between a Southwest Airlines ( LUV.N ) Boeing 737 and a Cessna Citation 560X business jet in San Diego.

The NTSB has been investigating seven runway incursion incidents since January, including the San Diego incident.

In March, the FAA said it would take steps to improve its air traffic control operations after a spate of near misses, telling employees: “There’s no doubt we’re seeing a lot of close calls.”

At “Runway Safety Action Committee” meetings through the end of September, representatives from the FAA’s aviation organization, airlines, pilots, airport vehicle operators and others will “come together to identify unique risks to surface safety,” the FAA said. airport and develop plans to reduce or eliminate those risks.”

The FAA has been without a permanent administrator since April 2022. President Joe Biden’s nomination to head the Bill Washington agency stepped down in March and the White House has yet to choose a new nominee.

Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trotenberg has been serving as FAA administrator in addition to her USDOT duties since June.

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In an initial review of the Aug. 11 incident, the FAA said Southwest Airlines Flight 2493 had already taxied to the same runway and was awaiting takeoff instructions when air traffic controllers at San Diego International Airport cleared the Cessna to land.

A similar collision occurred in Austin, Texas, in February, when a FedEx ( FDX.N ) cargo plane and a Southwest Boeing 737 came within about 115 feet (35 meters) of each other in poor visibility conditions. The controller cleared the FedEx flight to land and the Southwest flight to take off.

The FAA held a safety summit and issued a safety alert in March saying airlines, pilots and others “need continued awareness and attention to reducing safety risks.”

David Shepherdson reports; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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