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The Boeing 767 FedEx cargo airplane was cleared for landing at around 6:40 a.m. local time, when it was several miles from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The airport is located around 5 miles Southeast of Austin. On approach, an air traffic controller instructed the second plane, which was operated by Southwest Airlines, to take off.
According to a statement by the FAA, the pilot of the FedEx airplane aborted the landing and initiated a climb out, as reported by CBS.
The plane was then forced to re-ascend from an altitude of around 150 feet before landing at the airport 11 minutes later, at 6:51 a.m., according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.
Following the event, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) posted on social media on Saturday, describing what happened as a “possible runway incursion and overflight involving airplanes from Southwest Airlines and FedEx.”
Neither plane incurred any damage or injuries and the Southwest flight departed safely, the FAA reported. The FAA and NTSB are currently investigating the matter with the assistance of Airport authorities.
“We are aware of the Federal Aviation Administration’s investigation into the discontinued landing of a flight. We will assist our FAA partners and their investigation as necessary, ” Airport authorities stated.
Shannon Davis, a spokesperson for FedEx, also issued a statement:
“FedEx Express Flight 1432 from Memphis, Tenn. to Austin, Texas safely landed after encountering an event just before landing at Austin Bergstrom International Airport this morning,” the e-mail read, as reported by CBS.
Further inquiries have been referred to the FAA and NTSB. Southwest Airlines issued no comment.
It’s not the first incident of this kind to happen this year. Last month an American Airlines plane crossed a runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport at the same time as a Delta Airlines’ Boeing 737 plane was preparing for takeoff. Landing was promptly aborted after air traffic control issued a radio call.
A second incident also happened last month when a JetBlue flight came into light contact with a parked unoccupied aircraft. No one was injured.
The air traffic controllers’ union did not respond to a request for comment before press time.
By Kos Temenes