There have been 19 near misses at airports this year that could have been catastrophic – the most since 2016, a shocking report finds

News

Published December 23, 2023, 7:57 p.m. ET

There were at least 19 separate cases of planes almost crashing into each other in the first ten months of the year, according to a shocking report.

The shocking number of near misses between January and October represents a dramatic increase in narrowly avoided plane crashes – the highest number since 2016, according to Federal Aviation Administration data seen by The Wall Street Journal.

The total number for the year is not yet known, but a further increase is expected.

Just a few weeks after the data was compiled, a landing airliner nearly collided with a departing plane in stormy skies over Portland International Airport, with them barely 2,000 feet apart.

Luckily, frantic calls from an air traffic controller urged the descending plane to abort its landing in time, saving the lives of hundreds of passengers.

Such near misses are becoming more common, and officials believe the near misses are due to staffing problems in air traffic control towers.

Just days before the sensational WSJ report, the FAA announced it would create a panel of experts led by a former safety board official and sleep experts to combat air traffic controller fatigue after a series of near misses.

Officers surround a plane.The Federal Aviation Administration has identified at least 19 serious violations through October. Wonchalerm Rungswang

The three-member panel will begin work in January and “explore how the latest science on sleep needs and fatigue considerations can be applied to controllers’ work demands and scheduling.”

The FAA met its annual goal of hiring 1,500 air traffic controllers by 2023, but is still about 3,000 air traffic controllers behind staffing goals, leaving most of its employees facing a six-day work week.

The Empire State is facing one of the most severe air traffic controller staffing shortages, with New York Terminal radar approach control staffing at just 54% of recommended staffing levels.

Two airplanes fly in the sky.A near-air collision occurs when aircraft are less than 500 feet apart. Maggin Torres

The Big Apple started 2023 with a near-catastrophic collision that was averted thanks to the urgent help of an air traffic controller.

Panic-stricken passengers screamed in horror as their Delta flight was a “split second” away from colliding with an American Airlines plane that crossed their runway.

Despite traveling at 115 miles per hour, Delta slammed on the brakes and stopped just 1,000 feet from the intruding aircraft.

With post wires

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