Rep. DeSaulnier, "Sully" Sullenberger announce Safe Landings Act at SFO

East Bay Congressman Mark DeSaulnier announced a proposal Thursday that would address safety on airport runways.

The bill, about to go before Congress, is called the Safe Landings Act.

"The safe landings act is good news for anyone who flies," said renowned retired airline pilot," Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger.

The proposal was born out of a near disaster that happened at SFO in 2017.

An Air Canada flight from Toronto coming in for a landing came within 14 feet of hitting one of four planes, packed with passengers, still on the ground.

An investigation revealed the flight crew mistook a taxiway for a runway.

Now two years later, DeSaulnier, a Democrat representing Contra Costa County, and Sullenberger announced the proposal together at SFO.

The proposal attempts to address some problems that can cause runway accidents and close calls, which are up 83 percent in recent years.

"We can no longer define airline safety as the absence of accidents. We must do more than that. We must be proactive," said Sullenberger.

The bill would require systems that would alert pilots and air traffic controllers if a plane is not properly aligned on a runway.

It also requires important data and information to pilots be presented in a manner easier for them to digest.

Additionally, it calls for an aviation task force to identify best landing practices, safety risks from human error.

"We've got a good system. But we need to constantly be vigilant to make it better," said DeSaulnier.

Airline pilots associations are supporting the plan.

SFO did make changes after the Air Canada incident.

The bill would ensure safeguards at all U.S. airports.

"It's a matter of filling in gaps. Correcting flaws in our safety system, to make the system robust and resilient enough to correct the inevitable errors that will occur, so that passengers and crew can be kept safe on every flight, every day," Sullenberger said.

But the wheels of politics tend to move slowly.

DeSaulnier says if all goes well it would take about a year for the bill to become law.