Friday, April 13, 2007

Close Calls at Memphis Airport Spark Dispute

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 4:00 AM

UPI Reports: A series of close calls at Memphis International Airport has reportedly sparked an internal battle within the Federal Aviation Administration.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown refuses to comment on a dispute between the agency's air traffic division and its independent investigative arm, USA Today reports.

The FAA's Air Traffic Safety Oversight Service has ordered managers of the Memphis airport to stop the practice of allowing incoming passenger jets to fly directly over the tops of planes landing on nearby runways.

Earlier this year a midair collision between a Northwest Airlines DC-9 and a commuter plane at Memphis was narrowly averted.

That incident and others associated with landings on two nearby runways prompted an April 2 memo from the FAA's oversight service demanding immediate changes.

However, the demand is reportedly being ignored by the agency's air traffic division.

Brown says the FAA is currently working to address all safety concerns at the airport.

To read about the plight of local air traffic controllers working overtime at Memphis International, click on Bianca Phillips’ March story “Flying Blind.” Phillips also covered a scheduling change last September that requires all traffic controllers — not just the most experienced — to work the hectic midnight shift. Read “Pushing Ten.”

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