Report on near-collision at JFK Airport released


According to an abstract released by the National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday, interruptions and multi-tasking at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, almost led to a runway collision.

The investigation abstract looked at conditions surrounding an incident on Jan. 13, 2023, when a three-member flight crew on a B-777 airliner mistakenly crossed a runway occupied by another airplane taking off. NTSB officials said numerous factors contributed to the incident including interruptions and multitasking by the flight crew, as well as two flight crewmembers not catching the captain’s error because they were both engaged in tasks that took their eyes away from what was going on outside of the airplane. NTSC investigators also identified safety issues with air traffic control.

“The whole reason U.S. aviation has such an exemplary safety record is because we’ve built in extra layers of protection, which is why we need lifesaving technology at more of the nation’s airports,” NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said. “Our investigation also makes clear why we’ve long supported systems that warn flight crews of risks directly: because every second matters. Thankfully, the controllers acted quickly in this case, but safety shouldn’t be all on their shoulders. Instead, we must back up every single component of the system; direct crew alerts do just that.”

The NTSB said technology designed to prevent runway incursions let air traffic controllers know a collision was possible. The agency said additional risk mitigation strategies were needed to reduce flight crew surface navigation errors that could result in runway incursions. Among them were encouraging flight crews to verbalize the number of the runway they are about to cross, encouraging air carriers to use safety management systems to identify flight crew surface navigation errors, and collaborating with aircraft and avionics manufacturers to develop systems to alert flight crews of traffic on a runway or taxiway.