The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating Friday’s collision between two planes at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
A Boeing 737 operated by Delta Air Lines “came to a safe stop” as it began takeoff to avoid a potential collision, an FAA spokeswoman told FOX Business. .” The statement added: “According to a preliminary analysis, Delta Air Lines Flight 1943 aborted its takeoff roll approximately 1,000 feet before reaching the point where American Airlines 106, a Boeing 777, crossed the adjacent taxiway.”
The FAA stressed that the investigation is ongoing and that the information is preliminary and subject to change. The agency did not respond to a question about whether the incident fell into the FAA’s four categories for runway incursions, which indicate the severity of the incident.
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Based on details provided by the agency, the January 13 incident in New York would likely fall into one of the more severe categories the FAA uses to evaluate runway incursions.
What are runway encroachments?
Runway encroachments are incidents that occur at airports when aircraft, vehicles, or people are mistakenly present in a protected area designated for landing and takeoff. They are distinct from unauthorized movement or ground incidents that occur in a designated area that may affect flight safety.
The FAA’s four runway interference categories represent varying degrees of danger but do not reach an actual accident:
- Category A – the most severe type of attack – is a serious incident in which the collision is poorly avoided.
- Category B incidents occur when separation is reduced and there is a significant potential for collision that could trigger a time-critical corrective or evasive response to avoid a collision.
- Category C incidents are characterized by having sufficient time and/or distance to avoid a collision.
- Category D incidents are related to the failure of an aircraft, person or vehicle in a protected area for landing and take-off without direct safety consequences.
The FAA outage was caused by personnel “not following procedures.”
To assist air traffic controllers in avoiding interference on Category A and B runways, the FAA has developed the Airport Surface Detection System — Model X (ASDE-X), a surveillance radar that tracks the surface movement of aircraft and vehicles at airports. supervisors about possible intrusions or other incidents.
As of October 31, 2022, ASDE-X radar has been deployed at 35 major airports across the country, including New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, where Friday’s incident occurred.
Runway interference may occur as a result of air traffic controller actions resulting from operational incidents with less than minimum separation between aircraft; pilot deviations such as overrunning the runway; and pedestrians or vehicles entering airport traffic areas without permission from air traffic control.
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According to FAA data, the number of runway incursions at US airports increased from 1,574 in fiscal year 2021 to 1,732 in fiscal year 2022. The most common cause of attacks is pilot distraction, which was the cause of 1,084 attacks in fiscal year 2022, followed by vehicle and pedestrian distraction, which was the source of 313 attacks. As of January 11, the FAA has reported 27 runway incursions this month.
Collisions between aircraft can have catastrophic consequences, and such a scenario resulted in the deadliest accident in aviation history in 1977 on the Spanish island of Tenerife. Airport overcrowding caused by the closure of a different airport in the Canary Islands, combined with poor visibility due to dense fog, led to disaster when a misunderstanding between air traffic controllers and pilots resulted in a Boeing 747 taxiing on a used runway. to rise by another. As a result of the tragic collision and fire, 583 people died, and all 61 survivors were injured.
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Airlines responded to the runway incident
The two airlines involved in the New York flight holdup and hijacking told FOX Business they prioritize the safety of passengers and crew and are assisting federal agencies in their investigation.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always Delta’s number one priority. Delta will work with and assist aviation authorities in conducting a full review of Flight 1943 on January 13th regarding the procedure for the successful aborted flight at New York-JFK.” Delta Air Lines informed FOX Business about this. “We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and the delay in their travel.”
“The safety of our customers and crew members is our top priority. We are conducting a full internal investigation and are cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board in their investigation,” an American Airlines spokesperson told FOX Business.