According to radar data and recordings of those conversations, a close call at Kennedy International Airport on Friday night in which an American Airlines plane nearly collided with an approaching Delta Air Lines plane happened when the American Airlines pilots misunderstood instructions from air traffic controllers.
Flight 1943 of Delta, which was bound for the Dominican Republic, was forced to abort takeoff. All 145 of its passengers were safe.
According to Ross Feinstein, a former spokesman for both American Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration who claimed to have reviewed publicly available radar and recordings, the American Airlines flight, Flight 106, with 137 passengers on board, was travelling along a taxiway at around 8:45 p.m. when it came close to a location where two runways cross perpendicularly. Runway 4 Left, which intersects with Runway 31 Left, is where the Delta aircraft was ready to take off.
The American Boeing 777 is heard being instructed by an air traffic controller to “cross Runway 31 Left,” which calls for it to make a right turn before turning back to line up for departure on Runway 4 Left behind the Delta aircraft.
The Boeing 737-powered Delta aircraft receives clearance to take off from another air traffic controller. “Cleared for takeoff, Runway 4 Left, Delta 1943,” the pilot of the Delta says.
However, as the Delta plane started to take off, the American flight jogged left, then right, and continued straight across Runway 4 Left, as shown by the radar, according to Mr. Feinstein. This prevented the American flight from turning right to cross Runway 31 Left.
An air traffic controller can be heard using a four-letter word in an audio clip. Hold position!, one controller commands the American aircraft, and “Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance,” another controller commands twice and fast.
JFK Airport New York – Friday the 13th, 2023. American Airlines Boeing 777 (AAL106) going to London crosses the wrong runway while taxiing while a Delta Airlines Boeing 737 (DAL1943) is departing for Santo Domingo on the same runway stopping their takeoff avoiding a disaster. ? pic.twitter.com/vhzXI8zD7M
— Thenewarea51 (@thenewarea51) January 15, 2023
In a statement, Delta claimed that it “will collaborate with and support aviation authorities on a thorough investigation of flight 1943, which involved a successful aborted takeoff at New York-JFK on January 13. We sincerely regret that our customers’ travels were a hassle and were delayed.”
As said in a statement released on Monday, “Our main focus is the safety of both our clients and our staff. In addition to collaborating with the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation, we are carrying out a thorough internal inquiry.”