U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will visit Little Rock as one stop on a four-state tour next week to highlight federal investments in airport security, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Friday afternoon.
Buttigieg’s schedule on Wednesday will take him to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina and Little Rock’s Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Valley in Arkansas.
Those visits will be followed by trips to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport and the Mike Monroe Aeronautics Center (also at the Oklahoma City airport) on Thursday, according to a news release from the Department of Transportation.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday issued a security alert to the aviation community emphasizing “the need for continued vigilance and attention to mitigating security risks,” citing six “serious runway incursions” since January.
The safety alert, which included a list of recommended actions for airlines, pilots and others, was preceded by an aviation safety summit held by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month.
“America has the safest and most complex aviation system in the world because of our rigorous standards and dedicated aviation workforce that ensures millions of people get to their destinations safely every day. But we can never take our safety for granted – as the recent tight end has called for. We’ve made that clear,” Buttigieg said. in a statement released on Friday.
“I look forward to seeing the innovative ways airports are implementing new security measures and hearing from the people who are implementing them at our nation’s airports,” he added.
In an emailed statement Friday, Little Rock Airport spokesman Shane Carter said, “We look forward to showing Secretary Buttigieg the $60 million reconfiguration of Taxiway Charlie, which is underway and parallel to our main commercial runway just west of the terminal. This is a multi-phase project. Eliminate angled runway intersections to make the airfield safer.”
Although it did not involve the close contact on a taxiway or runway that has prompted increased attention from the Federal Aviation Administration about the risks, Little Rock was the site of a fatal plane crash last month.
On February 22, a Columbus, Ohio-bound plane owned and operated by an environmental consulting firm crashed shortly after takeoff from Bill & Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Valley, killing all five people on board.
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