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FAA Demands BWI & Other Airports Make Safety Improvements

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Mike Schuh 370x278 Mike Schuh
Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ) — The FAA forces BWI and other airports to make changes to improve safety.

As Mike Schuh reports, this comes after five near misses at similar airports last year.

About 1,000 times a day, a plane will take off or land at BWI–and do so safely.

But five times in recent years, at other airports with runways that cross, planes have nearly collided when one has had to declare an emergency and circle around to land.

If the incidents happened at other airports, why is BWI affected? One thing is in common: the airports that have to make the changes all have intersecting runways.

Right now, when planes are landing and taking off on intersecting runways, air traffic controllers account for the collision possibility and create a space so the two never intersect.

But when planes have had emergencies and had to circle around, controllers have lost control. Near misses have happened when planes suddenly butt in line to land.

Now, the procedures at BWI and 11 other airports are changing. Controllers are being trained to stagger cross runway operations even more. So now if there is an emergency, other planes won’t be in danger, no matter what route the diverted plane takes to get back to a runway.

The FAA is slowly rolling in the changes as controllers are trained. Everything has to be in place by February.

This summer, up to 30 more airports will have to abide by the new safety rules.

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