On Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) announced the allocation of over $100 million to twelve airports in order to prevent accidents following a series of near collisions this year. The funding aims to reduce occurrences of “incursions,” where planes, vehicles, or individuals mistakenly occupy or obstruct runways.
The funds will be utilized for various improvements, including the construction of new taxiways to facilitate plane movement within airports and the installation of lights to enhance pilot guidance. Tucson International Airport will receive the largest grant, approximately $33 million, to construct a taxiway and rebuild a runway. San Diego International Airport will receive $24 million to construct a new taxiway.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated, “Sometimes the best technology is concrete, and that’s why you’re seeing the construction of these end-around taxiways, which eliminate potential conflict points where planes line up.”
Incursions have decreased but are still a concern. This announcement follows a decline in runway incursions after a surge earlier this year. The F.A.A. reported that the rate of the most concerning incursions had risen to one per one million takeoffs and landings in January but has since been halved.
Several alarming incursions garnered significant attention earlier in the year. At Kennedy International Airport in New York, a plane had to abort takeoff due to a dangerously close crossing by another aircraft. At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas, a pilot had to abort the landing because another plane was taking off on the same runway.
In March, the F.A.A. organized a safety summit to address incursions and other safety issues. Additionally, it issued a bulletin to airlines, airport operators, and workers, urging caution during operations. The National Transportation Safety Board is hosting an event on Tuesday to discuss incursions.
According to the F.A.A., there have been approximately 550 runway incursions from January to April this year, slightly up from 530 during the same period last year.
The aviation system has faced numerous challenges. Runway incursions have become problematic as people resume travel and invest more in services they avoided during the past few years.
However, as demand has risen, airlines and government agencies have encountered difficulties in keeping up. Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights around Christmas last year, leaving millions of travelers stranded, after struggling to recover swiftly from disruptions caused by freezing weather. Weeks later, the F.A.A. temporarily halted departures nationwide while resolving a technical issue.
Many experts have warned that airlines and the F.A.A., responsible for air traffic control, could face challenges this summer, with air travel potentially surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Airline executives and F.A.A. officials have stated that they have implemented changes to minimize disruptions in the upcoming months.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW
Were you or a loved one harmed in an aviation accident? Parker Waichman LLP helps families recover monetary compensation for harm caused by accidents. For your free consultation, contact our law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
New York | Brooklyn | Queens | Long Island | New Jersey | Florida
Call us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (800-968-7529) | Schedule your free consultation