NEW YORK (AP) — Officials are investigating a close call at a New York airport Friday night between a plane crossing a runway and another preparing for takeoff.
“(Expletive)! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance!” an air controller said in an audio recording of Air Traffic Control communications when he noticed the other plane, operated by American Airlines, crossing in front. The recording was made by LiveATC, a website that monitors and posts flight communications.
Delta Air Lines’ departing Boeing 737 plane came to a “safe stop” on the John F. Kennedy International Airport runway as the other crossed in front, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
“I think the controller made a good call to reject the takeoff,” said John Cox, a retired pilot and professor of aviation safety at the University of Southern California.
He said the rejected takeoff safety maneuver — when pilots stop the aircraft and discontinue the takeoff — is one they are “very, very familiar with.”
“Pilots practice rejected takeoff almost every time they get to the simulator,” he said.
The Delta plane stopped just 1,000 feet from where the American Airlines plane had crossed from an adjacent taxiway, the FAA statement said.
“This is very uncommon. It rarely happens,” Dr. Hassan Shahidi said on “Morning in America.” “And the investigators, both the NTSB and the FAA, will be looking at all aspects of this, including communications between the air traffic control, and the pilots.”
Shahidi explained that passengers don’t have to be concerned about a similar incident happening because he said incidents like this don’t happen often.
The agency announced Saturday that it would investigate the incident, which happened around 8:45 p.m. ET.
The National Transportation Safety Board also said it would look into the close call.
“They’ll go back and listen to every transmission between the American jet and air traffic control to see who misunderstood what,” Cox said.
NewsNation’s Devan Markham contributed to this report.