Las Vegas airport already following new regs to avoid mid-air crashes

David Becker / AP

In this Thursday, May 9, 2013, photo, an Allegiant Air jetliner flies over the the the New York-New York Hotel & Casino after taking off from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

New federal safety regulations ordered to take effect by April to prevent midair collisions at major U.S. airports won’t result in additional flight delays at McCarran International Airport, because the Las Vegas air traffic control tower implemented the new policies last year.

The FAA this week ordered changes in landing and takeoff procedures at six of the 10 busiest U.S. airports and scheduled some to be implemented at some airports next month and others by April.

The National Transportation Safety Board last summer recommended the changes after studying five near collisions over airports in Las Vegas, New York and Charlotte, N.C. Aviation experts said implementing the new rules could result in flight delays during peak periods and bad weather.

The new rules require a longer time frame between planes landing from the north and planes taking off from the east.

The fear is that if an arriving plane aborts a landing, it could fly into the path of a plane taking off from the east. The Wall Street Journal reported that aborted landings occur about once every 1,000 flights.

An FAA official today said under procedures implemented at McCarran in July, planes taking off from east to west aren’t cleared for takeoff if there is an arriving flight within 1.9 miles of the airport.

McCarran has two pairs of parallel runways that intersect near the southwest corner of the airport.

The near collision at McCarran occurred Sept. 20, 2005.