Usually, when there's an accident or near accident involving a commercial airliner, everyone waits for investigations to be completed, consider the findings, and discuss ways to avoid the problem in the future. But there have been too many scares and failures recently to allow for the usual methodical approach, Lee Moak, a former Delta Air Lines pilot, writes in an opinion piece in the Washington Post. "We cannot wait for our aging and understaffed aviation infrastructure to break, and a tragedy to occur, to demand action," he says. Solutions must be found now.
The causes aren't a secret to people who work in commercial aviation, writes Moak, a past president of the Air Line Pilots Association. After the drastic slowdown early in the pandemic, the industry is trying to meet demand that's increasing faster than it was prepared for. That's affecting airlines, regulators, pilots and flight crews, controllers, and safety experts. The Federal Aviation Administration doesn't even have a permanent administrator, and the agency is underfunded, Moak says. The close calls of the past three months, he writes, "suggest that the safety systems, which served the nation well enough before and during the pandemic, might not be sufficiently robust for normal operations in 2023 and beyond." You can find Moak's piece here. (Read more aviation stories.)