FAA’s ‘Call To Action’


In recent months, a number of notable and high visibility events have occurred in the National Airspace System (NAS). While the overall numbers do not reflect an increase in incidents and occurrences, 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.”

So begins the FAA’s recent Safety Alert for Operators, SAFO 23002, “Aviation Safety Call to Action,” published March 22, 2023. The new SAFO is one of the agency’s reactions to the recent spate of serious runway incursions involving both air carrier and general aviation aircraft, including a helicopter. The SAFO followed a March 15, 2023, “Call To Action” event, which included more than 200 leaders from all segments of the aviation industry, sought to identify “areas where the existing safety system could be tightened to prevent future occurrences” and recommend ways to achieve such a goal.

The SAFO itself is mainly oriented toward air carrier operations, but the “Call To Action” meeting resulted in recommendations on preventing future occurrences. For example:

Air Traffic System: “Re-examine runway incursion data to identify underlying factors that led to these incidents and identify remedies.” The FAA is also asking industry to help identify technologies to augment existing surface surveillance equipment. 

Airport and Ground Operations: “Airport operators, airlines, workers, and the FAA discussed sharing the best practices of training programs among airport tenants and other stakeholders.”

General Aviation Operations: “Attendees discussed preliminary data from recent fatal accidents as part of their ongoing efforts to reduce the fatal accident rate in this sector. The group discussed ways to promote the sharing of General Aviation flight data in the [FAA’s] ASIAS database to improve safety decision-making.”

Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen also planned to appoint a special panel to evaluate ATC and the agency’s safety oversight.


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