The United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has scheduled meetings with representatives at approximately 90 airports to discuss runway safety concerns.
According to the FAA, which made the announcement on August 22, 2023, the meetings will take place “between now and the end of September” and will see the regulator meet with representatives at major, executive, and regional airports.
“Sharing information is critical to improving safety,” Tim Arel, chief operating officer at the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, said. “These meetings, along with other efforts, will help us achieve our goal of zero close calls.”
The regulator described the meetings as a place where “airport stakeholders come together to identify unique risks to surface safety at that airport and develop plans to mitigate or eliminate those risks”.
Representatives from the FAA Air Traffic Organization, relevant airlines, pilots, airport vehicle drivers, and other stakeholders participate in the meetings, which the FAA said are the “primary forum for pinpointing and addressing airport-specific risk in the surface environment”. The meetings are held annually.
The FAA said the meetings result in the preparation of “a Runway Safety Action Plan where stakeholders document and agree to pursue specific actions to improve surface safety”.
The FAA’s list of airports includes major airports such as Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and Dallas Fort/Worth International Airport (DFW).
The announcement comes days after The New York Times published an article which alleged that near-miss incidents are occurring at an increased rate across the US. The FAA publicly responded to the article, providing data stating that runway incursions have steadily decreased since their peak of 35 per 1 million takeoffs departures in 2017 and 2018.
“The FAA maintains extremely conservative standards for keeping aircraft safely separated,” the authority said in a statement, adding that safety experts look into incidents even when no collision has taken place.
The FAA also added that the whole aviation community is pursuing a goal of reducing near-misses to zero, a commitment made during a Safety Summit in March 2023.