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    GAO: Aviation safety incidents on the rise

    October 19, 2011

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    Washington – Aviation midair and ground safety incidents are increasing, according to a report (.pdf file) released Oct. 5 by the Government Accountability Office.

    Airborne operational errors doubled between the second quarter of fiscal year 2008 and the same period in 2011, the report said. Incursions, or the unauthorized presence of an airplane, vehicle or person on the runway, increased to 18 per million operations in FY 2010 from 11 per million operations in FY 2004. The report attributed the rising incident rates to changes in reporting requirements.

    GAO said the Federal Aviation Administration has made efforts to increase safety incident data collection by implementing a voluntary safety incident reporting program and new technologies that automatically track safety incidents and errors.

    GAO recommended that FAA change its oversight practices and information-sharing of incidents in the future. The office also recommended that the agency report information on a wider range of incursion incidents to include runway and ramp areas.

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