A private jet came within 100 feet of landing on top of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 at San Diego International Airport on Friday after an air traffic controller accidentally cleared the plane to land on the same runway that the Southwest aircraft was taxiing along.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed to Reuters that it was investigating the near-catastrophic accident between the Cessna Citation private jet and the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 just before midday on Friday.
In a statement, the FAA said that a preliminary investigation has found that an air traffic controller gave landing clearance to the Cessna despite the fact that Southwest flight WN2493 to San Jose had been told to taxi onto the same runway and hold in preparation for takeoff.
A radar-based ground collision detection system alerted the air traffic controller to the potential of a collision, and the controller ordered the pilot of the Cessna to go around.
Sources quoted by Reuters claim the Cessna came within 100 feet of the Southwest aircraft.
A spokesperson for Southwest wouldn’t be drawn on safety concerns, saying: “Our aircraft departed without event, and the flight operated normally, with a safe landing in San Jose as scheduled.”
In February, a Southwest-operated 737 came close to colliding with a FedEx Express cargo plane when air traffic control gave the FedEx aircraft landing clearance at the same as clearing the Southwest plane to take off from the same runway at Austin Airport.
The pilots of both aircraft performed evasive manoeuvres after the danger became apparent.
A month later, a Southwest aircraft at Baltimore International Airport took off and narrowly passed over an ambulance that accidentally crossed onto the runway as the plane was taking off.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.