Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The FAA is investigating the latest close-call after Minneapolis runway incident

An American Airlines plane and a Delta plane came as close as 200 ft vertically and 850 ft horizontally during a runway incident on Wednesday at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. This 2017 photo shows a Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at the same airport.
Jeff Baenen
/
AP
An American Airlines plane and a Delta plane came as close as 200 ft vertically and 850 ft horizontally during a runway incident on Wednesday at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. This 2017 photo shows a Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at the same airport.

An American Airlines flight was recently forced to abort its landing because a Delta plane was still on the runway of a Minnesota airport.

It's the latest in a recent string of close calls at major airports that has prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to remind airlines to be vigilant.

In the latest incident on Wednesday evening, an air traffic controller at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport instructed American Airlines Flight 2406 to cancel its landing and go around because Delta Air Lines Flight 1163, which had been cleared to takeoff, was still on the runway, the FAA said in a statement.

After the controller told the American Airlines Boeing 737 to go around, the aircraft passed above and to the left side of the Delta Airbus A220.

Based on radar estimates reported by The Aviation Herald, the two planes came within 200 feet vertically and 850 feet horizontally of each other.

The FAA says it's investigating how close the planes got to one another.

In January, a similar near-collision happened at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City when a Delta plane came within 1,000 feet of a departing American Airlines aircraft. A February incident, when planes came within 100 feet of each other, involved a FedEx cargo plane that had to reverse course during a landing after a Southwest Airlines plane was cleared to depart from the same runway at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas.

The following month, the FAA issued an alert to emphasize the need for continued vigilance and called on airline operators to take additional steps in order to mitigate safety risks.

The agency said in its March notice: "While the overall numbers do not reflect an increase in incidents and occurrences, the potential severity of these events is concerning."

In 2022, the FAA counted 1,732 runway incursions. As of June 14, there have been 1,139 incursions so far this year.

The investigation will determine whether the latest incident is classified as an incursion.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: June 18, 2023 at 11:00 PM CDT
An earlier version of this story mistakenly said that Delta Air Lines Flight 1163 was cleared to land at the time of a near collission with American Airlines Flight 2406 earlier this month. The Delta flight had been cleared to depart.