NASA under criticism for not reporting runway safety survey

WASHINGTON – Abandoning its secrecy claims, NASA promised Congress yesterday it will reveal results of an unprecedented federal aviation survey which found that aircraft near collisions, runway interference and other safety problems occur far more often than previously recognized.

Provoking broad criticism, NASA had said previously it was withholding the information because it feared it would upset air travelers and hurt airline profits. NASA cited those reasons in refusing to turn over the survey data to The Associated Press, which sought the information over 14 months under the Freedom of Information Act.

“We did say that, and that was the wrong thing to have said,” NASA’s administrator, Michael Griffin, testified during an oversight hearing. “I apologize. … People make mistakes. This was a mistake.”