(StraightNews.org) — Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has warned that more mistakes than usual are taking place in the airline industry. At a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety summit, Buttigieg said that while aviation remains safe, there have been an increasing number of errors occurring across the board – including on runways, at gates, in air traffic control, and on flight decks. “We take nothing for granted and we are particularly concerned because we have seen an uptick in serious close calls that we must address together,” Buttigieg said.
Incidents recorded so far in 2023 include a close call at New York’s John F. Kennedy in January. The near-collision involved an American Airlines 777 getting ready to depart for London. The plane taxied onto an active runway while another plane was also taking off from the same place. The mistake was noticed by a controller just in time, who then canceled the take-off clearance of the London-bound jet.
Similarly, in February, two planes narrowly avoided a collision on the runway of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas. On this occasion, a FedEx cargo plane was forced to abandon its take-off as it too was directed to a runway that was already being used by a Southwest Airlines flight with 128 people on board. The two planes missed each other by less than 100 feet.
Also in February, aircraft at Boston Logan International missed each other by around 500 feet when a runway was appointed to a departing flight while a second plane was coming in to land in the same place. The FAA said it was the fifth close encounter of 2023 so far, and they would launch investigations into all incidents.
Buttigieg called for the summit in the wake of the near-misses and called on industry experts and leaders to examine all available data and figure out what information is potentially being missed. He said airline safety is a top priority for the Biden administration.
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