We were reading various international newspapers this morning when we came across an article in The New York Times titled “Airplane Accidents Are Much More Frequent Than Believed.” And we got nervous. Not like with the Albacete plane.
The news begins like this: “On the afternoon of July 2nd, a Southwest Airlines pilot had to abort a landing at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. A Delta Air Lines 737 was preparing to take off on the same runway. The sudden maneuver prevented a possible collision by mere seconds.”
And this is just one example of several incidents that have been recorded, according to preliminary safety reports from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), which have not been made public and are part of a wave of at least 46 incidents in just the past month.
Near-accidents happen almost every day
In The New York Times, they explain that it’s been over a decade since serious aviation accidents have occurred in the United States. However, these potentially hazardous incidents happen much more frequently than people believe, which is a sign of what many experts describe as an increasingly strained safety net.
So far this year, incidents involving commercial airlines have occurred, on average, several times per week, according to a Times analysis of internal FAA records, as well as thousands of pages of federal safety reports and interviews with over 50 current and former pilots, air traffic controllers, and federal officials.
The incidents often occur at or near airports and are a result of human errors, as indicated by internal agency records. Errors by overburdened air traffic controllers due to staffing shortages across the country have been one of the leading factors.
These accidents have affected major U.S. airlines and have occurred nationwide, making no one immune to this dangerous trend.
Some incidents have made headlines, such as the one in San Diego on August 11th, when a private plane came dangerously close to landing on top of a Southwest flight. However, the majority of incidents, including an incident between two planes in Phoenix four days earlier, have not been made public.
In addition to the FAA records, The Times analyzed a database maintained by NASA that holds confidential safety reports submitted by pilots, air traffic controllers, and other aviation professionals.
The analysis found a similar phenomenon: in the most recent 12-month period for which data was available, there were approximately 300 reports of near collisions involving commercial airlines.
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