Following the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Safety Summit the agency has issued a safety alert with specific steps it wants airlines, pilots and others to take.
In recent months, a number of notable and high visibility events have occurred in the National Airspace System. While the overall numbers do not reflect an increase in incidents and occurrences, the FAA says the potential severity of these events is concerning.
Six serious runway incursions have occurred since January 2023, including an incident at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City involving a taxiing aircraft narrowly avoiding a departing aircraft and a landing aircraft coming within 100 feet of a departing aircraft at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas.
In light of these incidents, the FAA is urging the following actions:
- Ensure pilots and flight attendants have the same understanding of what “sterile flight deck” means and the risks associated with extraneous communication during this time.
- Emphasize importance of awareness of the aircraft in relation to taxiways, runways and other aircraft. This includes reviewing the following previously published SAFOs:
- 17012, High Collision Risk During Runway Crossing
- 11004, Runway Incursion Prevention Actions
- 08001, Flight crew techniques and procedures to enhance taxi, pre-takeoff, and after landing safety to reduce the risk of runway incursions
- Encourage personnel to identify and report existing and emerging safety issues through voluntary reporting programs and understand the usefulness of voluntary reporting systems for the operation in which you are engaged.
- Reinforce adherence to published processes and procedures, including checklists, Air Traffic Control instructions, and internal company procedures.
- Ensure Safety Management Systems are accounting for the high rate of change and churn in industry.