The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently investigating a near collision between a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 and a Cessna Citation business jet in San Diego. This incident is just one in a series of concerning aviation events in the United States. According to the FAA’s preliminary review, an air traffic controller at San Diego International Airport cleared the Cessna to land on a runway that had already been assigned to Southwest Airlines Flight 2493. The automated surface surveillance system at the facility alerted the controller about the situation, leading them to direct the Cessna to discontinue landing.
Initial findings suggest that the Cessna passed over the top of the Southwest airplane by approximately 100 feet. The FAA will be sending a team to investigate the incident further. Southwest Airlines has stated that they are cooperating with the FAA’s review and that their flight operated normally and landed safely in San Jose as scheduled.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating six runway incursion events that have occurred since January. One similar incident took place in Austin, Texas, in February, when a FedEx cargo plane and a Southwest Boeing 737 came within about 115 feet of each other under poor visibility conditions. The air traffic controller had given clearance for the FedEx plane to land and the Southwest plane to depart.
In another incident in Boston, the NTSB found that a Lear 60 charter pilot failed to receive a takeoff clearance in February, resulting in a near-collision with a JetBlue flight. The airport’s surface detection equipment issued an alert, prompting the air traffic controller to give go-around instructions to the JetBlue flight. The JetBlue Embraer 190 was only 30 feet above the ground when it aborted the landing near the point where both runways intersected. The Boston tower informed the charter pilot that the JetBlue flight had passed about 400 feet above them.
These recent incidents raise concerns about aviation safety in the United States. The FAA, NTSB, and airlines like Southwest are actively working to investigate and prevent similar occurrences in the future. It is crucial for the aviation industry to continue prioritizing safety to ensure the well-being of passengers and crew members.