Here are 7 airport runway close calls just this year
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledged on Wednesday that there has been an “uptick in serious close calls” at U.S. airports, after reports emerged of another near collision at a Washington, D.C., airport last week.
“Initial information suggests that more mistakes than usual are happening across the system, on runways, at gates while planes are pushing back, in control towers, and on flight decks,” Buttigieg said at a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety summit.
There have been at least seven close calls this year confirmed by the FAA or the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and Buttigieg has said the U.S. is on track to have more than 20 close calls in 2023.
Here are seven close calls on U.S. runways so far this year:
Jan. 13: John F. Kennedy International Airport
A Delta Air Lines flight was forced to abort its takeoff midway at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in January as an American Airlines flight crossed the same runway. Air traffic controllers scrambled to alert both flights, which eventually halted about 1,400 feet from one another.
According to a preliminary report from NTSB, the American Airlines flight crossed the runway without prior clearance from air traffic control.
Jan. 23: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
The Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu saw a near collision in late January when a United Airlines flight improperly crossed a runway as a cargo plane was attempting to land, the FAA said.
The two planes came within about 1,100 feet of each other. However, no “evasive action” was ultimately needed as the cargo plane was able to exit the runway early, according to an NTSB report on the incident.
Feb. 4: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
A FedEx cargo plane nearly landed on a runway at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas last month as a Southwest Airlines flight was preparing to take off.
The FedEx pilot halted his landing and initiated a climb-out after an air traffic controller cleared the Southwest flight to depart from the same runway. The cargo plane was ultimately able to circle around and land several minutes later.
Feb. 16: Sarasota Bradenton International Airport
An Air Canada flight was cleared to take off from the same runway that an American Airlines flight was authorized to land on at Florida’s Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in mid-February.
The American Airlines flight discontinued its landing when the planes were about 3,100 feet apart, in response to a notification from air traffic control, according to the FAA.
Feb. 22: Hollywood Burbank Airport
A Mesa Airlines flight “executed a pilot-initiated go-around” in late February as a SkyWest Airlines flight was taking off from the same runway it was preparing to land on at the Hollywood Burbank Airport, formerly known as Bob Hope Airport, according to NTSB.
Feb. 27: Logan International Airport
A private charter jet nearly collided with a JetBlue plane at the Boston Logan International Airport late last month after the private jet took off without clearance as the passenger plane was preparing to land on an intersecting runway, according to the FAA.
Despite being instructed by air traffic control to wait on the runway while the other flight landed, the private charter plane began a takeoff roll, forcing the JetBlue plane to take “evasive action,” the agency said.
March 7: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
In the latest close call, a Republic Airways flight crossed a runway without clearance at D.C.’s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport last week and blocked the path of a United Airlines flight that had been cleared to takeoff, according to the FAA.
An air traffic controller canceled the United flight’s takeoff clearance after noticing the situation. The Republic Airways pilot reportedly had been cleared to cross another runway but turned on the wrong taxiway, the FAA noted in a statement to The Hill.
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