The FAA – Federal Aviation Administration is implementing changes in landing and takeoff procedures at more than a dozen big airports, including six of the 10 busiest U.S. fields to reduce the hazards of mid-air collisions.
The idea is to increase takeoffs and landings separations between aircraft simultaneously cleared for takeoff on one runway and those planes arriving on another.
Pilots and air-safety experts support the changes, recommended last summer by the National Transportation Safety Board, but said they could worsen delays at peak times or in bad weather.
The rule change comes after an investigation of five near-miss incidents over the past several years with US air safety investigators at the NTSB judging that the current rules created hazardous situations and unnecessary risk of collisions because pilots were not necessarily given clear guidance when conducting go-around maneuvers.
The NTSB issued a recommendation letter in July, following the investigation of five incidents in which commercial jetliners came within ‘hazardous proximity’ of other aircraft while arriving or departing at major US airports.
According to the new rule, tower controllers will have to delay issuing takeoff clearances regardless of weather conditions to make sure landing aircraft have touched down or taxied away from any potential conflict’.
The initial rule change affects 16 airports, many of which have already implemented the changes. Others have until February or April to comply, and an additional set of airports will be subject to the revised rules in July. Among the airports currently covered under the new rule are JFK in New York, McCarran in Las Vegas, O’Hare in Chicago, and Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as the airports in Charlotte, Denver, Houston, Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and “a handful of other locations.”