(CNN) The Federal Aviation Administration told airlines on Wednesday to increase vigilance at airports after a series of close calls on or near runways.
The agency published an “aviation safety call to action,” urging carriers to “strengthen compliance with published processes and procedures.”
“Operators should review information collected through their safety management processes, identify hazards, increase and improve safety communications to employees and implement mitigations,” the safety alert said.
While flying remains one incredibly safe method of travel, the bulletin recommends “areas of focus” highlighted by recent events, including: using internal communication processes to “highlight … current issues;” adopts rules, such as Air Traffic Control checklists and instructions; making sure pilots and flight attendants understand what “sterile flight deck” i.e., including the risks of extraneous communications; and reviewing runway safety protocols.
The bulletin follows a week of an FAA emergency summit of safety which brought together regulators and industry groups after at least six high-profile runway incursions were reported at major US airports since the start of this year.
In his opening remarks, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg noted an “uptick” in aviation incidents and called on participants to help find the “root causes” of the problem.
“We are particularly concerned because we have seen an increase in serious close calls,” he said at the event in McLean, Virginia.
The FAA safety summit was the first of its kind since 2009 and kicked off a wide-ranging safety review the agency has been conducting after runway incursions.
“These recent incidents should serve as a wake-up call for each of us, before a greater disaster occurs, before lives are lost,” National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy told the government and leaders of the industry gathered for it.
However, commercial plane crashes are extremely rare, with about 45,000 flights completed each day on average in the US, all without fatalities. That’s a number that continues to rise following the slowdown in commercial flights at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
CNN’s Greg Wallace and Julia Buckley contributed to this report.