FAA Fudging Reports?

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

NTSB Says LAX Incident Raises Doubts...

The NTSB is accusing the FAA of fudging the numbers when it comes to runway incursions, but FAA chief spokesman Greg Martin told AVweb the charge is "really unfounded." In its annual "Most Wanted List" of safety improvements, the NTSB suggests the number of incursions are dropping because FAA staff members simply don't report them. "The fact that such incidents are not being reported casts doubt on the FAA's claims that the runway incursion rate is declining," NTSB Chairman Engleman Conners said. The doubts were raised when the NTSB discovered FAA staff at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) didn't report a near-collision between a Boeing 747 and a Boeing 737 in August (shown with dramatic computer-generated re-enactment and cockpit voice recording voice-over on some TV news stations Tuesday). However, FAA spokesman Laura Brown told CNN said the incident hadn't been reported because the agency hasn't finished investigating it yet. Martin, speaking for the FAA, said the incident was certainly serious but there was no attempt by the FAA to conceal it. He said the investigation was caught up in a bureaucratic tangle over how to properly classify it. Martin said the agency stands by the figures showing that serious runway incursions have decreased from 22 in 2000 to six in 2003. The LAX mishap occurred when a tower controller cleared a Southwest 737 to take off from the same runway that an Asiana 747 had already been cleared to land on. The Asiana pilot spotted the 737 while on short final and went around. As a result of the incident, the NTSB is downgrading the FAA's response to runway incursion hazards from "open-acceptable" to "open-unacceptable" and recommending the FAA "review its reporting process."