New York, two planes risk a collision: Almost a tragedy at the airport

New York, two planes risk a collision: Almost a tragedy at the airport

by Leonard Berberi

happened on the evening of January 13 at JFK when an American Airlines Boeing 777 was in the middle of the runway where a Delta Boeing 737 was taking off. Two investigations open

Two planes nearly collided at New York’s JFK Airport as one of them crossed the runway just as the other had already begun takeoff. The immediate stop by the air traffic controller probably prevented an accident that could have claimed around 400 lives. And it adds to the ever-growing list of rear-end collisions and dangerous intersections at one of the world’s most important and busiest airports.

The dynamic

The events took place on the evening of January 13, according to the crossing of the data provided by Flightradar24 with the audio conversations between the control tower and the pilots – published on the specialized LiveAtc website – and the note from the US agency FAA dealing with air traffic in the country. At 20:44 local time (02:44 the following day in Italy), a Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-900 with 151 people on board (145 passengers, 6 crew members) bound for Santo Domingo prepares to take off on runway 4 and departs the connection DL1943 .

Not followed the statement

In the same seconds, an American Airlines Boeing 777-200ER of flight AA106 with about 250 people and destination London Heathrow receives this message: Proceed and cross the left runway 31 by “Kilo”, says the air traffic controller. The aircraft is allowed to make a right turn on taxiway K and then continue to hold point K1 before taking off from left runway 4, just like the Delta flight. But American’s plane turns left and at a certain point finds itself smack in the middle of the left 4 while Delta’s jet has just been cleared for takeoff and powering up the engines.

The alarm

At this point, they realize the danger of the tower. Shit! says a man’s voice. American 106 hold position! a woman’s voice announces. Delta 1943 cancels takeoff clearance! says the other air traffic controller in an excited voice. Abort take-off! he repeats to be sure. The Delta pilot confirmed in a hushed voice that he received the display after reaching the top speed of 150 mph. Huuh, Delta 1943, responds shortly after the first officer, acknowledging the danger of the moment.

The questions

It is not clear how the error was possible. At this moment, JFK departures are all from runway 4 left and arrivals along runway 4 right. The American Airlines machine then clears the runway and is allowed to take off half an hour later on the left runway 31. Instead, for reasons that have not been officially clarified, the Delta jet returns around 15 hours later to the airport gate, where it departs. But the near-tragedy at JFK in New York adds to the list of incidents where multiple planes have touched while parked with damage to the wings or tail surfaces.

The investigations

The dynamic, reminiscent of the October 2001 Linate disaster (118 dead), is now being investigated by NTSB investigators, who confirm they have launched an investigation. The FAA is also investigating and states in a note that the Boeing 737 was safely slowed down after air traffic controllers noticed another plane crossing the same runway. According to preliminary data, the Delta flight stopped about 1,000 feet (305 meters) from American Airlines 106.

January 16, 2023 (change January 16, 2023 | 07:28)