Jets Came Closer Than Previously Reported
The National Transportation Safety
Board says it will investigate last week's runway incursion in Los
Angeles, CA... in which two airliners may have missed each other by
less than 40 feet.
As ANN reported, on August
16, at approximately 1300 Pacific daylight time, WestJet (WJA) 900,
a Boeing 737, and Northwest Airlines (NWA) flight 180, an Airbus
A320, almost collided at the Los Angeles International Airport
(LAX), according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The NTSB states the WestJet flight landed on runway 24R, exited
the runway, and held between the parallel runways as directed by
the tower. However, without authorization, the WestJet crew
changed radio frequencies and contacted ground control.
When contacted by the WestJet crew, the ground controller
assumed that they had been cleared to cross runway 24L, and
provided instructions for the WestJet flight to taxi to its
gate. However, the tower controller expected the WestJet
flight to hold and cleared the Northwest flight to takeoff from
The ground controller then realized that WestJet had not been
instructed to cross runway 24L... and told the WestJet flight to
stop. According to the FAA, the WestJet airplane crossed the hold
short line for runway 24L and the two aircraft came within 37 feet
as the Northwest flight crossed directly in front of the WestJet
flight during its takeoff roll. (That's even closer than earlier
The Board notes that the Airport Movement Area Safety System
(AMASS) at LAX was operational at the time of the incident, but it
is unknown whether or not it activated. That will be one of many
questions the NTSB will have for airport officials, controllers,
and the pilots involved.