Secretary Pete Buttigieg launches plan to avoid aircraft collisions at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport

Tribune Content Agency

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg will announce a $28.8 million airfield safety project at DFW International Airport Thursday, a move aimed at preventing near collisions between jets that have raised concerns about the nation’s travel system.

The project will build a southwest end-around taxiway to reduce the need for aircraft to cross runways 36L and 36R at the airport. Buttigieg is visiting airports all over the country as part of a tour to highlight Federal Aviation Administration investments, following an uptick in close calls on airfields.

“We can never take for granted that air travel is the safest mode of transportation in America. We must continue working to make aviation even safer by eliminating close calls like the ones we’ve seen in recent weeks,” said Buttigieg in a release. “This funding will make it significantly safer for planes to navigate the airfield, reducing the risk of a potential collision, while also reducing delays and carbon emissions.”

The FAA has committed to providing $180 million in both the northeast and southwest end-around systems, including the new project announced today. The agency said it will reduce close calls and reduce delay minutes on the runway.

Buttigieg also visited Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which is also constructing an end-around taxiway; Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Ark., where airport leaders are redesigning a taxiway to reduce risk and confusion on the airfield. After DFW Airport, he plans to visit Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport and the FAA’s aeronautical center to meet with air traffic control trainees.

On March 15, the FAA held a Safety Summit to address key safety issues and incidents, including one that happened between Southwest Airlines and FedEx jets at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The incident was the second near collision of jetliners in a month after an American Airlines Boeing 777 jet crossed in front of a Delta Air Lines 737 taking off at New York’s JFK International Airport on Jan. 15.