US safety board probes United runway incident at Honolulu airport

16 February 2023 - 13:18 By David Shepardson
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The Cessna came to a stop about 1,170 feet from where the United jet was crossing, the FAA said. No damage or injuries were reported.
The Cessna came to a stop about 1,170 feet from where the United jet was crossing, the FAA said. No damage or injuries were reported.
Image: 123rf.com/Jaromír Chalabala/ File photo

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Wednesday that it would open an investigation into a Jan. 23 incident at Honolulu Airport involving a United Airlines wide-body crossing a runway and conflicting with a Cessna landing on the same runway.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is also investigating, said an air traffic controller told the United Boeing 777 to stop on a taxiway before reaching the runway, but the United flight crossed it as the Cessna 208B cargo plane was landing.

The Cessna came to a stop about 1,170 feet from where the United jet was crossing, the FAA said. No damage or injuries were reported.

United referred questions about the incident to the NTSB.

Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said a spate of recent airline incidents have prompted him to order a safety team review and hold a safety summit next month.

NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy said last week in an interview that the board has opened investigations into 18 runway incursion incidents since 2013, including two from last summer that remain under investigation.

Last week, Homendy said a FedEx Boeing 767 cargo plane and a Southwest Airlines 737-700 that nearly collided on Feb. 4 in Austin, Texas were “probably under 100 feet (30.5 meters) vertically from each other.”

The FedEx plane had been set to land on a runway on which a Southwest Airlines jet was also cleared to depart. Homendy said it could have resulted in “terrible tragedy.”

Homendy said it was too early to say if there was any trend among the recent runway incursion incidents but she noted “it just takes one” to have a devastating tragedy.

Homendy said another runway incursion last month at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport in which a Delta Air Lines plane came to a safe stop after air traffic controllers noticed an American Airlines Boeing 777 had crossed from an adjacent taxiway could also have been tragic.

On Friday, the NTSB issued subpoenas to the American Airlines flight crew after they refused to be interviewed on the basis their statements would be recorded for transcription.

A spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association union said on Wednesday that the “pilots intend to appear for their interviews in accordance with the subpoenas.”

The NTSB on Tuesday said it would investigate a Dec. 18 incident in which another United 777 lost altitude and came within about 800 feet of the Pacific Ocean before recovering shortly after departing Kahului, Hawaii.

Reuters

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