FAA launches investigation after two planes nearly collide at JFK airport

Grounded Delta Airlines planes are parked at gates at John F. Kennedy International Airport on January 11, 2023, in New York.
Yuki Iwamura | AFP | Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration has launched an investigation after two commercial airplanes narrowly avoided a collision at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC.

The FAA said a Boeing 737 operated by Delta Air Lines stopped its takeoff around 8:45 p.m. when air traffic controllers noticed another American Airlines aircraft crossing the runway. The Delta flight “stopped its takeoff roll approximately 1,000 feet” from the point where the American Airlines Boeing 777 had crossed, according to the FAA’s preliminary analysis.

The agency told CNBC the information is subject to change.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a tweet Sunday that it is also investigating the incident.

Flight watcher @xJonNYC noticed the near miss and shared audio of the tense air traffic control exchange on Twitter Saturday.

“Delta 1943 cancel takeoff plans! Delta 1943 cancel takeoff plans!” one person can be heard saying.

“Rejecting,” another person responds.

A representative for Delta Air Lines said Flight 1943 was heading to the Dominican Republic, but after the aircraft stopped on the runway, it returned to the gate and customers deplaned.

The flight was delayed overnight due to crew resources and departed the next morning.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always Delta’s number one priority,” the representative said in a statement. “Delta will work with and assist aviation authorities on a full review of flight 1943 on Jan. 13 regarding a successful aborted takeoff procedure at New York-JFK. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay of their travels.”

A spokesperson for American Airlines said the company will defer to the FAA for comment.

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