FAA launches investigation after two planes nearly collided at JFK Airport

Delta Airlines planes that are grounded are parked at the gates of New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on January 11, 2023.

Yuki Iwamura | AFP | Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration has launched an investigation after two commercial airliners narrowly avoided a collision at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC.

The FAA said a Delta Air Lines Boeing 737 halted takeoff around 8:45 p.m. when air traffic controllers noticed another American Airlines plane crossing the runway. According to the FAA’s preliminary analysis, the Delta flight “stopped its takeoff roll at approximately 300 feet” from the point where the American Airlines Boeing 777 had crossed.

The agency told CNBC that the information is subject to change.

The National Council for Transport Safety said in a tweet on Sunday that it is also investigating the incident.

Flight watcher @xJonNYC noticed the near misses and shared audio of the tense air traffic control exchange on Twitter Saturday.

“Delta 1943 Cancels Launch Plans! Delta 1943 Cancels Launch Plans!” you hear someone say.

“Reject,” replies another.

A Delta Air Lines representative said Flight 1943 was bound for the Dominican Republic, but after the plane stopped on the runway, it returned to the gate and customers disembarked.

The flight was delayed overnight due to crew resources and departed the following morning.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always Delta’s number one priority,” the representative said in a statement. “Delta will cooperate with aviation authorities and assist them in a full review of Flight 1943 on January 13 regarding a successful aborted takeoff procedure at New York-JFK. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay to their travels.”

An American Airlines spokesperson said the company will go to the FAA for comment.

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