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FAA issues safety alert after near misses at Logan Airport and others

Reagan National Airport is seen from the Washington Monument in 2022, with a plane overhead. The FAA just put out a safety advisory for planes.Salwan Georges/The Washington Post

The Federal Aviation Administration Wednesday issued a safety alert urging airlines, pilots, and other parties to take precautions following recent near misses at Logan International Airport in Boston and other airports around the country.

The alert, which followed the agency’s safety summit last week, made several recommendations, including ensuring that pilots and flight attendants have a uniform understanding of “sterile flight deck,” an industry term for restricting crew members’ activity to essential actions during takeoff and landing, the FAA said in a statement.

Crew members should also be apprised of “the risks associated with extraneous communication during this time,” the FAA said.


Additional recommendations include stressing the importance of aircraft awareness in relation to taxiways, runways and other planes; encouraging staff to identify and report safety issues through voluntary reporting programs; and reinforcing adherence to protocols including checklists, air traffic control instructions, and internal airline procedures.

A spokesperson for Massport, the agency that runs Logan, said in a statement that “safety and security are the top priorities for Massport and the entire Logan airport community. We take these matters seriously and made sure to have a staff member at the table last week at that safety summit.”

Logan Airport has had two recent close calls that made headlines, including on the evening of Feb. 27.

That’s when a private Learjet taking off nearly collided with a JetBlue flight from Nashville that was preparing to land, officials said.

“According to a preliminary review, the pilot of a Learjet 60 took off without clearance while JetBlue Flight 206 was preparing to land on an intersecting runway,” the FAA said in a statement last month.

“An air traffic controller instructed the pilot of the Learjet to line up and wait on Runway 9 while the JetBlue Embraer 190 landed on Runway 4-Right, which intersects Runway 9,” the FAA said. “The Learjet pilot read back the instructions clearly but began a takeoff roll instead.”


The JetBlue pilot took evasive action and initiated what’s known as “a climb-out” maneuver as the Learjet crossed the intersection, avoiding a potentially devastating collision, officials said.

On March 6, two United Airlines planes clipped wings just before 9 a.m., officials said. No injuries were reported.

In August, a Delta Airlines plane clipped another aircraft as it was pushing back from its gate.

The safety issues haven’t been limited to Logan. Already this year, there have been near collisions between planes in Austin, Tex.,cq at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and in Burbank, Calif., according to published reports.

On March 3, Dana Hyde, of Maryland, was fatally injured during a Virginia-bound Bombardier Challenger 300 flight that took off from Keene, N.H. The jet was shaken by extreme turbulence and forced to land at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, officials said.

Days later, model and designer Camila Alves McConaughey, the wife of actor Matthew McConaughey, shared her distressing experience on board a Lufthansa flight that was diverted due to “significant turbulence” and caused seven people to be hospitalized, officials said.

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.