Two Mass. airports are part of federal 'zero close calls' mission

Two Massachusetts airports will be tasked with developing and agreeing to runway safety action plans following upcoming meetings with federal officials.

The meetings at Martha's Vineyard Airport and Worcester Regional Airport are slated to happen by the end of September, though a Tuesday advisory from the Federal Aviation Administration didn't provide specific dates. A range of airport stakeholders — including airline representatives, pilots, airport vehicle drivers, and officials from the FAA's Air Traffic Organization — will examine risks to surface safety and gauge how to reduce or eliminate those concerns.

The purpose of the runway safety meetings, happening at about 90 airports throughout the country, is to reach the FAA's goal of "zero close calls," said Tim Ariel, chief operating officer of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization.

Annual safety meetings are held at airports with control towers. Other New England meetings include Bradley International Airport, Groton-New London Airport and Tweed/New Haven Airport in Connecticut; as well Boire Field Airport and Lebanon Municipal Airport in New Hampshire, according to the advisory.

After investing millions of dollars to improve runway safety at airports in May, the FAA touted new technologies to boost situational awareness for pilots and controllers, including status lights to alert pilots about traffic on runways, surface detection equipment to track where planes and vehicles are moving, and arrival prediction software for when pilots land.



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