The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned the practice of ‘reversing the flow’ of air traffic to and from runways today after a miscommunication among air traffic controllers nearly caused the collision of three US Airways commuter planes near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
No commercial airports will be able to use the procedure, in which controllers direct some planes to take off and land from the opposite of the usual direction, until a standardized procedure can be put in place, aviation officials said. There is no national standard for the procedure, although airports follow their own procedures.
“In light of these preliminary findings, out of an abundance of caution, there are some immediate steps we are taking,” Grizzle wrote in a memo to Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
The FAA expects to have new procedures in place within a month, said FAA Chief Operating Officer J. David Grizzle. In the meantime, airports can only use the procedure in emergencies.
The FAA maintains that the jets involved in the incident at Reagan were not on a collision course.