A FedEx cargo airplane attempting to land at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Saturday morning was seconds from disaster with the flight crew suddenly forced to pull up and abort their landing after a Southwest Airlines plane was also cleared to takeoff from the same runway.
The two planes appeared to come within 75 vertical feet of one another.
The Boeing 767 cargo airplane was several miles from the airport when it was cleared to land, according to the FAA but just before it was about to touch down an air traffic controller also gave the go-ahead for the Southwest Boeing 737 to take off on the exact same stretch of tarmac.
‘Shortly before the FedEx aircraft was due to land, the controller cleared Southwest Flight 708 to depart from the same runway,’ the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
‘The pilot of the FedEx airplane discontinued the landing and initiated a climb out.’
FAA is investigating an aborted landing in Austin, Texas, after a FedEx cargo plane almost landed on a runway on which a Southwest plane was about to takeoff
The FedEx Boeing 767, in orange, eVdeN eVE NAkliYAT had been cleared to land while a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737, in yellow, had also been cleared to depart on the same runway
At one stage, just 75 feet appeared to separate the two aircraft according to FlightRadar24
In a tweet Saturday, the National Transportation Safety Board used jargon to downplay the incident describing it as a ‘possible runway incursion and overflight involving airplanes from Southwest Airlines and FedEx.’
The incident occurred in poor visibility conditions early on Saturday morning in Austin.
The FAA said FedEx Express Flight 1432, a Boeing 767 cargo plane, which had departed from Memphis, was cleared to land on Runway 18-Left around 6:40am while the aircraft was several miles from the airport.
The Southwest plane had not yet departed when the FedEx plane was approaching the runway.
The altitude of the FedEx plane shows it descending before a sudden and sharp gain in altitude
The FedEx aircraft had to suddenly pull up and EVDEn eve nAKliYAT managed to climb several hundred feet within seconds as the crew averted catastrophe
The Southwest flight to Cancun, Mexico still continued its takeoff even while the FedEx cargo plane was directly above it.
The Southwest jet was able to depart safely, according to the FAA.
Southwest has so far declined to comment.
FedEx said its flight ‘safely landed after encountering an event,’ but declined to further comment because of the ongoing investigations.
The FAA and NTSB said they are investigating the serious incident.
‘FedEx Express Flight 1432 from Memphis, Tennessee to Austin, Texas safely landed after encountering an event just before landing at Austin Bergstrom International Airport this morning,’ FedEx said in a statement,
Data from flight tracking websites suggest the two planes came very close indeed.
Pictured, the FedEx cargo plane’s route which saw it having to abort landing and EvdEN eVe NAKLiyAt then circle the airport
The Southwest Airlines plane was already on the runway and about to take off as the FedEx plane was landing
The FedEx cargo plane was coming into land at Austin Bergstrom Airport when it was forced to pull up
Austin Airport said it was ‘aware of the Federal Aviation Administration’s investigation into the discontinued landing of a flight.
We will assist our FAA partners and their investigation as necessary.’
A similar close call was averted at John F. Kennedy International Airport after an American Airlines plane crossed a runway while a Delta Airlines’ Boeing 737 plane was preparing for takeoff on January 13.
Air traffic controllers noticed a Boeing 777 had crossed from an adjacent taxiway.
The FAA said the Delta Boeing 737 stopped its takeoff roll approximately 1,000 feet before reaching the point where American Airlines Flight 106 had crossed.