The Federal Aviation Administration announced it is starting a probe into how a commercial airliner taxied in front of a flight that was taking off from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport Friday evening.
The crew of a Delta Air Lines Boeing 737 aborted its takeoff, ultimately stopping within 1,000 feet of the taxiing American Airlines Boeing 777, the FAA said. No one was hurt in the incident, which took place around 8:45 p.m. Friday.
Air traffic controllers had “noticed another aircraft crossing the runway in front of the departing jetliner,” the FAA said in a statement. “According to a preliminary analysis, Delta Air Lines Flight 1943 stopped its takeoff roll approximately 1,000 feet before reaching the point where American Airlines Flight 106, a Boeing 777, had crossed from an adjacent taxiway.”
According to Delta, its flight – a 737-900 bound for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – had 145 customers and six crew members on board.
Audio recordings detail swift action by an air traffic controller kept the airplanes from colliding as they drew closer.
“S–t!” exclaimed the controller from the tower of John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday night. “Delta 1943 cancel takeoff clearance!”
The flight returned to the gate and then could not depart due to staffing issues, Delta said. The flight ultimately left Saturday morning, and Delta said it provided customers with a hotel stay.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always Delta’s number one priority,” Delta said in a statement to CNN, adding that it will cooperate with the National Transportation Safety Board with any analysis.
“Delta will work with and assist the NTSB on a full review of flight 1943 on Jan. 13 regarding an aborted takeoff procedure at New York-JFK. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay of their travels.”
The NTSB announced on Twitter that it was investigating the incident.
“NTSB is investigating the Jan. 13 runway incursion at JFK airport involving an American Airlines Boeing 777 and a Delta Boeing 737,” it said.
American Airlines did not comment, referring all questions to the FAA. FlightAware data shows American Airlines Flight 106 was a London Heathrow-bound flight that took off on time Friday night from JFK and arrived on time in London Saturday morning.