The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday named an independent safety review team to look at ways to boost air safety after a series of close call incidents.
The National Airspace System Safety Review Team includes former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, former Air Line Pilots Association President Tim Canoll and former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Robert Sumwalt.
Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement the “team will strengthen our ongoing safety efforts and identify specific investments we can make to bolster the National Airspace System.”
The team will begin work in May and make recommendations by October on actions the FAA can take to enhance safety.
Last month, the FAA said it was taking steps to improve its air traffic control operations. “There is no question that we are seeing too many close calls,” FAA Air Traffic Organization Chief Operating Officer Tim Arel said in a March 23 message.
Last month, the FAA issued a separate safety alert to airlines, pilots and others citing the “need for continued vigilance and attention to mitigation of safety risks”.
Six serious runway incidents since January prompted the agency to convene a safety summit in March.
Arel said the FAA would ensure that supervisors devote their full attention to the operation and airfield during peak traffic periods, provide more dedicated training for unusual circumstances and update simulator software for the first time since 2016.
NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said in February a FedEx cargo plane and a Southwest Airlines plane had come within 100 feet of each other in what could have been a “terrible tragedy.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said recently the United States could not wait for the next “catastrophic event” before addressing the uptick in aviation close calls.