Freight Dawgs Rule
- Dec 17, 2003
From NewCenter 5 in Boston...
BOSTON -- After a series of close calls, state and federal aviation officials say they are moving to try make the runways at Logan International Airport safer.
NewsCenter 5's Gail Huff reported that the most recent incident happened Monday when a FedEx cargo plane was allowed to taxi across a runway that a passenger jet was about to use for takeoff. A mechanic was at the controls of the FedEx plane, which was being taken to a hangar, an FAA spokesman said. Although there was no collision, the mechanic apparently ignored instructions by air traffic controllers to stop. A Jet Blue commercial flight headed to Florida with 124 passengers aboard, which had been cleared for takeoff on the same runway, was told to stop.
In the past 10 months, 14 near misses have been reported at Logan by the Federal Aviation Administration. The airport has had twice the number of incidents as similar-sized airporrts, according to the FAA. On June 9, two planes came within 170 feet of colliding at the end of intersecting runways. An Aer Lingus flight was cleared for takeoff, as was a US Airways plane, which was cleared for takeoff at the same time on an intersecting runway. The two planes came within seconds of colliding.
"This was actually in the serious category. The FAA actually rates the severity of ground incursions or problems at an airport and this would probably be in the high category," said MIT aviation expert John Hansman.
As a result, two air traffic controllers were suspended and sent for retraining, but the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Boston Tower Local, said Logan is very unique and difficult. There are five runways and they all intersect and there is soon to be a sixth intersecting runway.
Massport, the FAA and airline officials have promised to work on a new runway safety plan to combat the increase in safety incidents.