FAA lays out additional steps for air traffic controllers after 'too many close calls'

The FAA will take these measures in addition to the safety alert issued this week

WATCH LIVE: FAA holds safety summit after several close calls between planes at US airports

The FAA is looking at additional actions the aviation community needs to take to maintain its safety record.

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Air Traffic Organization announced extra steps air traffic controllers should take to ensure the U.S. aviation system remains safe after “too many close calls.”

“Even though we all know that multiple levels of safety are built into our system, there is no question that we are seeing too many close calls,” said Timothy Arel, the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization Chief Operating Officer. “Our dedication to continuous improvement demands that we dig deep to identify the underlying factors and address them.”

These measures will be taken in addition to the organization's “daily safety work” and the FAA's recent safety alert, entitled the “Aviation Safety Call to Action,” which laid out specific steps the agency wants airlines and pilots to take, according to Arel.


The safety alert was posted after the FAA convened a safety summit on March 15 to examine actions the aviation community needs to take to maintain its safety record after “serious runway incursions” unfolded since January of this year.

American Airlines airplanes

American Airlines airplanes sit on the tarmac of Reagan National airport in Arlington, Virginia, on December 23, 2022.  (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

In the Thursday memo, Arel laid out five extra steps the organization will take including ensuring that supervisors “devote their full attention to the operation and airfield during peak traffic periods at each facility.”

Arel said the FAA will also provide more dedicated training for what he says are “unusual circumstances” and update simulator software, which was last updated in 2016.


The agency will also work with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association “to reinforce existing safety protocols, especially those that help increase situational awareness,” Arel said.

Additionally, the FAA will continue to reduce its training backlog from the COVID-19 pandemic and re-examine runway incursion data in order “to identify underlying factors that led to these close calls and identify remedies,” he continued.


A passenger on a Delta flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to NYC’s JFK Airport took a picture of a moving moment. (Getty Images / Getty Images)

“With the summer travel season just around the corner, airlines and the traveling public have high expectations,” Arel said. “While we all recognize the value that airspace users place on efficiency, our greatest obligation is to ensure that safety is at the forefront of every decision we make.”

FAA has ‘alarm bells going off’ over recent runway collision incidents: Casey Murray

Southwest Pilots Union President Casey Murray calls for infrastructure improvements to the air traffic control system.

Last month, acting FAA administrator Billy Nolen announced that he was forming a safety review team to look into the aviation system following repeated close calls including incidents involving planes at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, Austin, Texas, and off the coast of Hawaii.

FOX Business' Greg Norman contributed to this report.

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