FAA issues new SAFO amid multiple runway safety events
Amid a number of notable and high visibility runway safety events in the last several months, the FAA has issued a new Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO), Safety Call to Action.
Six serious runway incursions have occurred since January 2023, including an incident at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York involving a taxiing aircraft narrowly avoiding a departing aircraft and a landing aircraft coming within 100 feet of a departing aircraft at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas.
Senior leaders from the FAA, other government agencies, commercial and general aviation operators, and others attended a Safety Summit on March 15, 2023. Attendees discussed these recent incidents, as well as ways to enhance aviation safety. The Safety Call to Action asks all stakeholders including pilots to review the following items and consider taking additional steps to ensure operations are conducted at the highest level of safety:
- Use all available internal communication processes to specifically highlight recent events and existing issues.
- Reinforce adherence to published processes and procedures, including checklists, Air Traffic Control instructions, and internal company or personal procedures.
- Ensure pilots and others have the same understanding of what “sterile flight deck” means and the risks associated with extraneous communication during this time.
- Explore helpful resources available for all pilots at: FAA Safety Team – FAASafety.gov.
- Encourage crews to diligently follow Crew Resource Management (CRM) procedures and principles to control workload and reduce distractions.
- Encourage personnel to identify and report existing and emerging safety issues through voluntary reporting programs and understand the usefulness of the voluntary reporting system.
- Review information about runway safety here: Runway Safety | Federal Aviation Administration (faa.gov).
- Review the following previously published SAFOs:
- Apply Safety Management System principles to analyze safety data and assess risk associated with emerging hazards. Evaluate existing risk mitigations to determine if they are effectively controlling risk, or if additional action is required.