US investigates aborted FedEx landing in Texas, two planes cleared for same runway Reuters

© Reuters.

David Shepardson

(Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the aborted landing on Saturday morning in Austin, Texas of a FedEx (NYSE: ) cargo plane that was scheduled to land on a runway where Southwest Airlines (NYSE: ) also received approval for departure, the agencies reported.

The two planes came close to colliding when the FedEx plane was forced to fly over the Southwest plane to avoid the crash, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

“Just before the FedEx aircraft was scheduled to land, the controller cleared Southwest Flight 708 to depart from the same runway,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.

The NTSB said separately that it was investigating “a possible runway incursion and overflight by Southwest Airlines and FedEx aircraft.”

The incident occurred in low visibility conditions in Austin. The FAA said FedEx Express Flight 1432, a Boeing (NYSE: ) 767 cargo plane that departed from Memphis, was cleared to land on runway 18-left around 6:40 a.m. while the plane was several miles from the airport. The Southwest plane had not yet taken off when the FedEx plane approached the runway.

“The pilot of the FedEx aircraft aborted the landing and began a climb,” the FAA said.

It was not clear exactly how close the two planes were to colliding, but data from a flight tracking website suggests they were very close.

A Boeing 737-700 bound for Cancun, Mexico, Southwest took off safely and landed at 9:47 a.m. ET.

Southwest declined to comment. FedEx said its flight “landed safely after encountering the event” but declined further comment due to the ongoing investigation.

The NTSB and FAA are investigating another recent near-miss of the runway.

On Jan. 13, a Delta Air Lines (NYSE: ) plane made an emergency stop at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport after air traffic controllers noticed a Boeing 777 had veered off the adjacent taxiway.

The FAA said the Delta Boeing 737 aborted its takeoff approximately 300 feet before reaching the point where American Airlines (NASDAQ: ) Flight 106 crossed over.

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