Two aircraft narrowly avoided a collision over the weekend at the Hollywood Burbank Airport, just days after holding a safety summit to address the rising concerns in aviation.
A Boeing 737 Southwest flight was approaching the runway at the Burbank airport on Saturday when an air traffic controller noticed that a Bell 505 helicopter was on the same runway practicing touch-and-go landings.
The air traffic controller then instructed the Boeing 737 to stop its approach and go around. The incident is now being investigated by the FAA.
FAA Administrator Billy Nolen told “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt that they have begun “to see things that we don’t expect to see.”
“We expect every flight to operate as it should,” Nolen added. “And so we’ve had these events over the past few weeks. That gives us a moment to say, ‘Let’s stop. Let’s reflect. Let’s ask ourselves the question: Are we missing anything?’”
This isn’t the first time aircraft have narrowly avoided a collision. In the first two months of the year, commercial jets have experienced more near-collisions with other aircraft than the previous five years combined, according to a POLITICO review of Federal Aviation Administration data.
On March 7 at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Republic Airways Flight 4736 crossed a runway without proper clearance, which put it in the path of another flight.
With a swift uptick in airline travel following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Nolen says a “pent-up demand for flying” has put a lot of pressure on the system.
“Flying has come back with a vengeance, so to speak,” he said.
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