US FAA presses airline industry to eliminate ‘near calls’

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An airplane prepares to land at Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida, U.S. January 2, 2023. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The acting director of the US Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday said the aviation industry must work to eliminate near-misses that have raised recent safety concerns.

“In the future, zero should be the only acceptable number for critical incidents and close calls,” said Billy Nolen, acting administrator of the FAA. Six serious runway violations since January prompted the agency to convene a safety summit earlier this month.

“Air travel is making a strong comeback since the pandemic. But the extended layoffs, coupled with the increased technical nature of our systems, may have cost some professionals a loss. some of that muscle memory,” Nolen said at an industry meeting in Baltimore.

The FAA said last week that it was taking steps to improve its air traffic control operations. Tim Arel, executive director of the FAA, said in a message to staff at the time: “Without a doubt, we are seeing too much danger close by.

On Wednesday, the FAA issued a separate safety warning to airlines, pilots and others citing “the need to continue to be vigilant and pay attention to minimizing safety risks.”

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy said last month that a FedEx (NYSE:) cargo plane and a Southwest Airlines (NYSE:) plane flew within 100 miles of each other. feet and possibly a “terrible tragedy”.

Faced with a shortage of air traffic controllers, the FAA wants funding to recruit more. Rich Santa, president of the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers, said at a safety summit earlier this month that there are 1,200 fewer certified air traffic controllers than there were a decade ago.

On Wednesday, the FAA said it would temporarily cut minimum flight requirements for airlines to hold takeoffs and landings at congested airports in the New York City and National Airports area. to Ronald Reagan Washington to deal with summer congestion problems. The FAA will hold a meeting Wednesday on air traffic issues in the New York area.

The FAA has agreed to requests from Delta Air Lines (NYSE:NYSE:) and United Airlines to temporarily return up to 10% of seats and flights at those airports.


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