2 planes narrowly avoid collision at Austin airport, FAA says
Two planes narrowly avoided a collision at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Saturday after a departing flight and an arriving flight were both cleared to use the same runway, officials said.
A FedEx cargo plane was attempting to land at the airport on Saturday morning and was cleared by air traffic controllers to do so several miles from the runway. The Federal Aviation Administration, however, said a Southwest Airlines plane was also cleared to take off moments later from the same location.
The FedEx plane aborted its landing, circled the airport and landed safely shortly after. Flight tracking footage shows the two planes nearly overlapping at this time.
“Shortly before the FedEx aircraft was scheduled to land, the controller cleared Southwest Flight 708 to depart from the same runway,” the FAA said in a statement. “The pilot of the FedEx aircraft aborted the landing and initiated a climb. The Southwest flight departed safely.
The incident will be investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.
The New York Times reported Sunday that weather conditions in Austin were less than ideal at the time of the incident. Air traffic controllers hinted at reduced visibility, although officials did not confirm the cause of the confusion.
This is the second near miss in recent weeks. Two commercial planes at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport nearly passed each other last month.