The United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a plea to aviation industry stakeholders to take action to ensure air travel remains safe.
Following a Safety Summit on March 15, 2023, organized by the FAA, and as near-miss incidents continue to occur in the US, the government agency asked airlines, pilots, and others to ensure air travel safety.
The FAA is asking stakeholders to ensure pilots and flight attendants understand the concept of a “sterile flight deck”, including the risks of “extraneous communication during this time”, as well as the importance of awareness of the aircraft in relation to taxiways, runways, and other aircraft. As such, stakeholders should review previously published Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO), with the FAA highlighting SAFOs about “High Collision Risk During Runway Crossing”, “Runway Incursion Prevention Actions”, and “Flight crew techniques and procedures to enhance taxi, pre-takeoff, and after landing safety to reduce the risk of runway incursions”.
Furthermore, personnel should 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”. Pilots and other actors in the industry should only strengthen “adherence to published processes and procedures, including checklists, Air Traffic Control instructions, and internal company procedures”.
Lastly, stakeholders should make sure that “Safety Management Systems are accounting for the high rate of change and churn in industry”.
The FAA Safety Summit was called after a series of near-misses and close calls at US airports. Since the summit, a few other close calls have been observed in the country, including a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 almost colliding with a helicopter practicing touch-and-go landings at Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR) on March 18, 2023.