FAA Investigates Near Collision of Jetliners at Reagan National Airport”

FAA Probes Near Misses at Reagan National Airport | The Enterprise World

(Source – WTOP)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is launching an investigation into a harrowing incident at Reagan National Airport on Thursday morning, where two jetliners narrowly avoided a collision while departing. Air traffic controllers were forced into action as they realized the impending danger, prompting frantic radio communications to avert disaster.

According to air traffic control audio recordings obtained from LiveATC.net, controllers were heard shouting commands for a JetBlue flight to halt its takeoff as a Southwest Airlines aircraft began taxiing across the same runway. The intensity of the situation was palpable as the two planes came within approximately 400 feet of each other, with FlightRadar24 data indicating the forward section of the Southwest flight encroaching onto the runway.

The sequence of events unfolded as the controller responsible for managing runway operations at Reagan National Airport cleared the JetBlue Airways flight for takeoff around 7:40 a.m. Simultaneously, another controller directed a Southwest Airlines jet to cross the same runway for taxiing purposes.

Approximately 30 seconds after the JetBlue plane received clearance, controllers urgently commanded both aircraft to halt their movements.

“JetBlue 1554 stop! 1554 stop!” echoed the tower controller’s urgent plea.

“Frantic Air Traffic Controllers Avert Potential Disaster”

“2937 stop!” instructed the ground controller, referring to the Southwest flight. The pilot of the Southwest aircraft promptly responded, confirming their compliance: “We stopped. We were cleared to cross Runway 4.”

Acknowledging the severity of the incident, the FAA stated to CNN, confirming that both aircraft were inadvertently directed onto the active runway.

“An air traffic controller instructed Southwest Airlines Flight 2937 to cross Runway 4 at Ronald Reagan National Airport Washington while JetBlue Flight 1554 was starting its takeoff roll on the same runway,” the FAA statement read.

Following the close call, the JetBlue aircraft aborted its takeoff and returned to the runway threshold before successfully departing for Boston Logan International Airport. Meanwhile, the Southwest flight continued across the runway as directed, proceeding to take off for its intended destination of Orlando.

JetBlue attributed the aborted takeoff to the presence of another aircraft crossing the runway, ensuring that safety protocols were upheld. The airline confirmed that the affected flight underwent inspection before resuming its journey safely.

“FAA Launches Probe into Runway Incident as Safety Concerns Mount”

In response to the incident, Southwest Airlines expressed cooperation with the FAA’s investigation, emphasizing the importance of understanding the circumstances surrounding the near-miss.

As concerns regarding aviation safety mount, CNN has sought input from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to determine whether further investigation into the incident is warranted. The incident underscores the critical role of air traffic controllers and the imperative of rigorous safety measures to mitigate potential risks in the skies.

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