The Dallas Morning News
Southwest, Fedex jets have close call after runway mix-up
A Fedex 767 cargo jet aborted a landing in Austin on Saturday morning just as a Southwest Airlines jet was taking off from the same runway, prompting an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB said it is investigating the “possible runway incursion and overflight involving airplanes from Southwest Airlines and Fedex,” while the FAA said the two jets were cleared to use the same runway.
The incident is the second near collision of jetliners in a month after an American Airlines Boeing 777 jet crossed in front of a Delta Air Lines 737 taking off at New York’s JFK International Airport on Jan. 15.
In the incident Saturday just after 6:40 a.m., the Fedex cargo plane was cleared to land at Austin-bergstrom International Airport’s Runway 18Left. Air traffic controllers cleared Southwest flight 708 to depart from the same runway just before the Fedex plane was set to land, the FAA said.
“The pilot of the Fedex airplane discontinued the landing and initiated a climb out,” an FAA spokesperson said in a statement. “The Southwest flight departed safely.”
In a statement to The Associated Press, Austin-bergstrom Airport said it was “aware of the Federal Aviation Administration’s investigation into the discontinued landing of a flight. We will assist our FAA partners and their investigation as necessary.”
After diverting the landing, the Fedex jet circled the airport and landed safely. The Southwest flight to Cancun continued and landed safely as well.