The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are looking into an incident at a Texas airport that potentially put two airliners on the approach end of one runway at the same time. The event took place on Saturday, February 4, at approximately 6:40 a.m. in relative darkness, as sunrise was not until 7:20 a.m.
According to the FAA, FedEx Express Flight 1432, a Boeing 767, was cleared to land on Runway 18 Left at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (KAUS). The clearance was received and acknowledged when the 767 was several miles away from the airport.
“Shortly before the FedEx aircraft was due to land, the controller cleared Southwest Flight 708 to depart from the same runway,” the FAA statement continues. “The pilot of the FedEx airplane discontinued the landing and initiated a climbout. The Southwest flight departed safely.”
H2: FlightAware Shows Descent Profile
The flight tracking website FlightAware captured the descent of the FedEx 767. It reached an altitude of approximately 150 feet at approximately 6:40 a.m., then entered a rapid climb. The FedEx jet landed at 6:51 a.m. after the Southwest 737 had departed.
FedEx released a statement regarding the incident, noting that FedEx Express Flight 1432 from Memphis, Tennessee, to Austin, Texas, safely landed “after encountering an event just before landing at Austin Bergstrom International Airport.” As this is an ongoing investigation, the air cargo carrier referred all further inquiries to the FAA.
Southwest Airlines did not respond to FLYING’s request for comment by press time.
The event is under investigation by both the FAA and NTSB as a possible runway incursion.
This marks the second time in the past month that there has been a runway event involving major airlines in the U.S.
On January 13, 2023, at JFK International Airport (KJFK) in New York an American Airlines Boeing 777 taxied into the path of a departing Delta Airlines 737. Both the Delta airplane and American Airlines carried full passenger loads at the time of the event. The tower control noticed the incursion as the 737 was rolling and canceled the takeoff clearance. The 737 came to a stop approximately 1,000 feet from the American Airlines 777.
The NTSB has not yet released a preliminary report on the New York incident.