The United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it has established an independent aviation safety review team in order to study how to improve air traffic safety in the country.
According to the FAA, six people were assembled to “further examine ways to enhance safety and reliability in the nation’s air traffic system”. Following a “thorough assessment”, the group will present recommendations on how the regulator can further improve the safety of air travel within the US.
Whether these recommendations will be legally binding is currently unclear.
“We are committed to maintaining the safest period in U.S. aviation history,” stated Billy Nolen, the Acting Administrator of the FAA. “This team will strengthen our ongoing safety efforts and identify specific investments we can make to bolster the National Airspace System.”
The group includes former NASA Administrator and astronaut Charles Bolden, former Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) President Captain Tim Canoll, former National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) Executive Vice President Patricia Gilbert, former FAA Chief Operating Officer (COO) David Grizzle, former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, and former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Robert Sumwalt.
In March 2023, the FAA organized a Safety Summit following a string of near-miss incidents and runway excursions across the US, asking airlines and pilots to take action to ensure safety.
During the summit, the current NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy criticized the FAA for not taking the NTSB’s recommendations into account, including seven recommendations on runway collisions that are yet to be implemented by the transport agency.