US safety board investigating United runway incursion at Honolulu airport

US safety board investigating United runway incursion at Honolulu airport

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Wednesday it would open an investigation into a runway incursion at Honolulu Airport on Jan. 23 that occurred when a United Boeing 777 overran the runway and collided with a Cessna 208B landing. Same runway.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is investigating, said an air traffic controller told the United flight to stop on the taxiway before reaching the runway, but the Cessna cargo plane crossed it as it landed. The Cessna stopped about 1,170 feet from where the United jet was crossing, the FAA said. No damage or injuries were reported.

United referred questions about the incident to the NTSB.

Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said the recent events have prompted him to conduct a safety review team and hold a safety summit next month.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Hommondy said in an interview last week that the board has opened investigations into 18 runway incursion incidents since 2013, including two from last summer under investigation.

Last week, Homendi said that a FedEx Boeing 767 cargo plane and a Southwest Airlines 737-700 that nearly collided in Austin, Texas on February 4 “were probably within 100 feet (30.5 meters) of each other vertically.”

The FedEx plane was set to land on a runway where a Southwest Airlines jet was also cleared to depart. Homendy said it could have been a “terrible tragedy”.

Homendi said it was too early to tell if there was a trend in recent runway incursion incidents, but he noted that “it only takes one” to cause a devastating tragedy.

Homendi said another runway incursion at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport last month in which air traffic controllers noticed an American Airlines Boeing 777 crossing from an adjacent taxiway resulted in a Delta Air Lines plane coming to a safe stop.

On Friday, the NTSB issued subpoenas to the flight crew of an American Airlines flight after they refused to be interviewed on the grounds that their statements would be recorded for transcription.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)

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