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Air Canada jet came within 1 km of another plane: report

Two planes came within a kilometer of each other at a Florida airport after air traffic control allowed American Airlines to land on the same runway as the Air Canada Rouge was about to take off, a report from US officials found.

The incident took place on February 16, at 9 pm, at the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in the Tampa Bay area. In the preliminary report Air traffic control cleared an American Airlines flight from Charlotte, NC, to land on runway 14, the US National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement Thursday.

However, air traffic control had also cleared an Air Canada Rouge jet bound for Toronto for a flight on the same runway, despite the fact that the American Airlines plane was on final approach to the runway, less than 5.5 kilometers away.

When the American Airlines plane was 1.8 miles away, the controller confirmed that the Air Canada Rouge was to take off from the runway. About 53 seconds later, American Airlines pilots aborted the landing, known in aviation as a “go-around”.

“What was your reason for turning around?” An air traffic control recording could be heard asking the American Airlines pilot.

“A guy was still on the runway,” said an American Airlines pilot, referring to an Air Canada Rouge plane about to take off.

“That’s a good reason,” replied the warden.

At their closest point, the two planes were about 1.1 kilometers apart. There were no injuries or damage to either aircraft, but the report comes as US airports are seeing an increase in close calls, also known as runway incursions.

On Wednesday, the NTSB and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) held a safety summit to discuss these near misses with industry, union and aviation experts.

The NTSB has been investigating six runway incursions since January. Last month, a FedEx cargo plane came within 100 feet of a Southwest Airlines plane in Austin, Texas. Two planes came within 300 feet (90 meters) of each other in Burbank, California, after a controller allowed the smaller plane to land on the same runway as the other was to take off.

There have been no US aviation fatalities since 2009, however NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy “These recent incidents should serve as a wake-up call.”

“There have been too many close calls and near misses recently, each of which could have had devastating consequences with precious lives,” he said at the summit on Wednesday.

Neither the FAA nor the NTSB has identified an underlying cause that explains the increase in runway incursions, but Homendy called for adequate training and education for aviation industry workers joining and re-entering the workforce from layoffs and layoffs caused by the pandemic. after retirements. . The FAA also committed to reviewing runway incursion data to identify underlying factors.

“There’s no doubt that aviation is remarkably safe, but vigilance should never take a day off.” FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement Wednesday. “We have to ask ourselves difficult and sometimes uncomfortable questions, even when we believe the system is healthy.”

With files from the Associated Press.

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