Two planes collide at JFK days after near-miss

Plane comes ‘into light contact with a parked unoccupied aircraft during pushback,’ airline says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Wednesday 18 January 2023 17:34 GMT
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Related video: Two planes almost colliding at JFK airport sparks FAA investigation

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A JetBlue flight at JFK Airport in New York City bumped into another plane just days after a near-collision at the airport sparked an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The most recent incident took place on Wednesday morning, WABC reported.

Officials said that Flight 1603 to San Juan, Puerto Rico, was set to take off at 6am, but the aircraft was taken back to the gate and out of service after it struck the tail of another plane operated by the same airline. The aircraft that was struck had no one inside it.

The flight took off at 7.50am once all the passengers had boarded another plane. No injuries were recorded, officials said, but the FAA will investigate the incident.

The plane “came into light contact with a parked unoccupied aircraft during pushback,” a spokesperson for JetBlue said, according to NBC New York.

The planes were of the same model – Airbus A320s. JetBlue said both of them will be taken out of service.

“JetBlue Flight 1603 struck the tail of a parked JetBlue aircraft while pushing back from the gate around 7am at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York,” the FAA said. “The flight was going to Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Both aircraft were Airbus 320. No injuries were reported, and the FAA will investigate.”

Twitter user CJ tweeted that he was on the flight and that “the pilot couldn’t explain what was happening after he told us we had ‘bumped into the plane behind us.’ I didn’t feel anything. He told us we were going back to the gate”.

The news of the collision comes after a tense audio recording captured air traffic controllers’ panic as two commercial planes nearly collided at the airport on Friday night.

The close call, which saw a London-bound American Airlines jet taxi across in front of a Delta aircraft that was taking off, is also under investigation by the FAA.

The Delta Boeing 737 came to a stop within 1,000 feet (305 metres) of the taxiing American Airlines Boeing 777 at around 8.45pm on Friday 13 January, the agency said.

Air traffic control audio was shared on Twitter by flight watcher @xJonNYC.

“S***! Delta 1943 cancel takeoff plans! Delta 1943 cancel takeoff plans!” a controller says.

After the disaster was averted, the controller is heard letting out a big sigh.

According to the FAA, air traffic controllers “noticed another aircraft crossing the runway in front of the departing jetliner”.

“According to a preliminary analysis, Delta Air Lines Flight 1943 stopped its takeoff roll approximately 1,000 feet before reaching the point where American Airlines Flight 106, a Boeing 777, had crossed from an adjacent taxiway,” the agency said in a statement about the initial incident.

Delta said its 737-900 was heading to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic with 145 passengers and six staff members on board.

The airline said the plane had to go back to the gate and couldn’t depart because of staff problems. The flight instead took off on Saturday morning after passengers had been provided with hotel accommodations overnight.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always Delta’s number one priority,” Delta told CNN. The airline said it will work with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to analyse the problem.

“Delta will work with and assist the NTSB on a full review of flight 1943 on Jan 13 regarding an aborted takeoff procedure at New York-JFK. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay of their travels,” the airline added.

The NTSB is also involved in the investigation.

American Airlines hasn’t made a public statement, instead referring queries to the FAA, according to CNN.

American Airlines Flight 106 flew took off bound for London Heathrow, landing on schedule the following morning.

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