Near Disaster As American Airlines Plane Passes In Front Of Departing Delta Jet In New York

Near Disaster As American Airlines Plane Passes In Front Of Departing Delta Jet In New York

Near disaster as an American Airlines jet passes in front of a Delta Jet departing for New York

On Friday night, American Airlines Flight 106 from New York JFK to London Heathrow narrowly collided with a Delta Air Lines Boeing 737 bound for Santo Domingo. The American plane seems to have tried to leave the wrong runway. The incident was first reported Saturday morning by aviation watchdog JonNYC.

The American Airlines plane was supposed to take off from runway 4L but missed runway 31L – and passed in front of the Delta plane. Air traffic control yelled, “Delta 1943 cancel takeoff!” The Delta plane aborted its takeoff and cleared the runway.

ATC: Crap! Delta 1943 cancels takeoff! Delta 1943 cancels takeoff clearance.

Delta: Rejecting

ATC: Okay, uh, Delta 1943. Delta 1943 are you able to taxi, or do you need a few minutes to do the checks?

Delta: Yes, we can exit the Delta 1943 runway.

Meanwhile, air traffic control had word of the American crossing in front of an active runway:

American: The last permit they gave us, they allowed us to pass, is that correct?

ATC: American 106 Heavy, we’re departing from runway 4 left, I think we’re going to listen to the tapes, but you’re supposed to be departing from runway 4 left, you’re currently stuck on runway 31 left.

JonNYC shares air traffic control audio clips:

Two audio clips from @liveatc

— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) January 14, 2023

At 14 seconds into this illustration, you can see the Delta plane begin its takeoff, aborting at the last minute as American Airlines’ Boeing 777-200 passes right in front of it.

— Casey Wade (@CaseWade) January 14, 2023

A passenger on the Delta flight, Brian Healy, reports that Delta 1943 had been accelerating for “2 or 3 seconds” when it began braking, to the surprise of passengers who “gasped[ed]” and fell into “total silence” before hearing from the captain who told the passengers they had been ordered by air traffic control to abort. They taxied back to the gate and tried again the next morning.

The pilot came in after agonizing minutes to report that ATC had ordered an aborted takeoff. It took an hour to taxi back to the gate… and I got a pass back to JFK this morning when DL1943 finally departed 15 hours later.

— Brian Healy (@bhealyNYC) January 14, 2023

Here’s a report JonNYC relayed from someone on board the American flight.

“I was on AA106 last night looking at our plane on PlaneFinder. We approached the active runway. We were supposed to go right. We crossed the active runway and the pilot pushed for a LOT of power. It looked extremely strange. Then it sat still for about 20 minutes . Makes more sense now that I see it.”

— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) January 14, 2023

After all, air traffic control saw what was happening and acted quickly when the American flight to London apparently misheard its instructions. I have reached out to American Airlines for a statement and will update if I hear back.

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