SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) —The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating another close call, this time at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
An air traffic controller cleared an Air Canada flight for takeoff on Feb. 16 at SRQ as an American Airlines flight was cleared to land on the same runway, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The American flight was about 3,100 feet apart when the crew discontinued their landing and began its climb-out.
“The fact that American went around, that speaks well of the American crew that they were proactive but it’s also something that they’re fully trained for,” said John Cox, CEO safety operating systems and retired airline captain.
Cox said its common for controllers to clear an airplane to land and depart on the same runway.
“The point being is by the time the airplane arrives, the second airplane is lifting off or already airborne so they’re not on the runway at the same time,” he said. “As far as the sequence of the controllers, this is very, very common and it’s how we move the number of airplanes through our skies that we do.”
No one was injured during last month’s close call. The NTSB says a preliminary report is expected to be released in two to three weeks.
According to FAA statistics, there were more than 1732 runway incursions in 2022. So far this year, there’s been 596. In recent weeks, there have been close calls at airports nationwide, including in Boston, New York, Austin, California and Hawaii. The incidents are now prompting the FAA to hold a safety summit on March 15.
“I want to hear from the participants about what they are seeing in their own operations and more important I want specific ideas about how to enhance our already robust safety net with concrete actions,” said Billy Nolen, Acting FAA Administrator.
Safety is top of mind, especially for those traveling for spring break.
“The international Association of Airlines just released today the safety report for last year and it’s one of the safest years in aviation’s history,” said Cox. “Aviation is safe it’s the safest form of transportation ever designed by human kind.”