FAA giving $121 million, holding safety meetings to better avoid near collisions of planes

WASHINGTON — The FAA announced it will funnel millions of dollars to airports to cut down on close calls and near collisions. It’s an alarming occurrence that the New York Times says happens far more often than we realize.

Now, the FAA will hold safety meetings at 90 airports, including two in Florida and one in Georgia.


The danger of near collisions was very real in Austin this February, as a Southwest Airlines jet barreled down the runway and a FedEx cargo plane nearly landed on top of it.

Senator Ted Cruz presented a re-creation animation of the incident at a Senate committee hearing earlier this year, showing how the two aircraft came within a hundred feet of each other.

“What can we do to make sure that never happens again?” Cruz asked the committee.

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That’s the central question at a series of runway safety meetings that the Federal Aviation Administration is holding between now and the end of September at 90 airports across the country. This follows an aviation safety summit in March.

“More mistakes than usual are happening across the system of runways and gates when planes are pushing back in control towers and on flight zones,” Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg explained at the summit.

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The New York Times reports that near misses between airplanes happen far more often than the public knows. At least 46 close calls involving commercial airlines occurred in the last month alone.

On Wednesday, the FAA announced it would award $5 million to Reagan National Airport, which is outside Washington D.C., to re-do its taxiways and hold bays. This is part of the $121 million effort at airports across the county to reconfigure runways and to make collisions less likely.

In Florida, the FAA said it would visit Orlando Sanford International Airport and then an unnamed “executive airport” as well.

In Georgia, officials will visit Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field.

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