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An American Airlines flight nears disaster in front of a Delta Jet bound for New York

On Friday night, American Airlines Flight 106 from New York JFK to London Heathrow nearly collided with a Delta Air Lines Boeing 737 bound for Santo Domingo. The American plane apparently attempted to depart wrong runway. The incident was the first reports early Saturday morning by the air traffic controller JonNYC:.

The American Airlines plane was supposed to leave runway 4L, but had less than 31L left, and passed in front of the Delta plane. Air traffic control shouted. “Delta 1943 canceled flight clearance”. The Delta plane stopped the flight and cleared the runway.

ATC:Error Delta 1943 canceled clearance to fly. Delta 1943 canceled clearance to fly.

Delta. Rejection

ATC: Okay, wow, Delta 1943. Delta 1943 Can you drive a taxi or do you need a few minutes to do the checks?

Delta. Yes, we can exit Delta 1943 runway.

At the same time, air traffic control was telling the Americans to cross the active runway.

American. The last permit we were given, we were allowed to pass, correct?

ATC: American 106 Heavy, we’re departing left on runway 4, I guess we’ll hear the tapes, but you have to depart left on runway 4, you’re just short of runway 31 right now.

JonNYC shares air traffic control audio clips;

14 seconds into this illustration, you can see the Delta plane taking off, interrupted at the last moment as an American Airlines Boeing 777-200 passes right in front of it.

Brian Healey, a passenger on the Delta flight, reported that Delta 1943 accelerated for “2 or 3 seconds” before it began braking, startling passengers who “gasped”;[ed],” and fell into “complete silence” before hearing from the captain, who told passengers that air traffic control had ordered an abort. They taxied back to the gate and tried again the next morning.

Here’s a report JonNYC is relaying from someone on an American flight.

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


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