Two airliners were about 14 seconds and just over a half mile away from colliding at a Sarasota, Florida, runway last month, a preliminary report from safety investigators shows.
Air traffic control cleared Air Canada Rouge A321 to take off when incoming American Airlines 737 was just a little more than 3 miles away from the airport. Controllers advised each aircraft of the other, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s first report on the February 16 incident.
Most of that spacing had been eliminated by the time the American plane saw the Air Canada Rouge aircraft taking off and aborted its own landing. The two aircraft ultimately came within .6 miles of each other, the NTSB said.
The incident is one of seven such incidents, known as runway incursions, this year. The NTSB is investigating six of them.
The Federal Aviation Administration convened a summit Wednesday that kicks off a sweeping safety review that the organization is conducting because of the number of such incursions.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg asked participants at the summit to help find the “root causes” of the problem.
“We are particularly concerned because we have seen an uptick in serious close calls,” Buttigieg said in his opening remarks.
In the Sarasota incident, investigators interviewed the air traffic controllers involved, according to the preliminary report. The pilots submitted statements to the NTSB and the agency is considering whether to interview them.
There were 194 people aboard the Air Canada Rouge aircraft and 178 aboard the American plane, according to the report.
NTSB preliminary reports lay out the facts but do not reach conclusions about the cause of an incident.