FAA is laying out steps for air traffic controlers to avoid more close calls

(CNN) The head of the nation’s air traffic controllers says there have been too many near collisions at airports and is laying out steps controllers should take to avoid more — including more supervisor oversight in control towers and extra controller training for “unusual circumstances.”

“Even though we all know that multiple levels of safety are built into our system, there is no question that we are seeing too many close calls,” says Tim Arel, chief operating officer of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Organization.

The five steps laid out Thursday by Arel in an agency-wide memo follow last week’s FAA safety summit focusing on the recent series of near collisions involving commercial airliners on or near the runways of US airports.

“Our dedication to continuous improvement demands that we dig deep to identify the underlying factors and address them,” Arel said. “With the summer travel season just around the corner, airlines and the traveling public have high expectations.”

On Wednesday, the FAA acknowledged a shortage in its air traffic control ranks and loosened rules around airlines’ takeoff and landing slots at airports in the New York and Washington, DC areas.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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