JetBlue flight and Learjet have 'close call' at Boston Logan International Airport, feds say

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a “close call” between a JetBlue flight that was preparing to land and a Learjet that took off without clearance Monday night at Boston Logan International Airport, the agency said in a statement.

The incident occurred shortly before 7 p.m. ET Monday, the FAA said.

“According to a preliminary review, the pilot of a Learjet 60 took off without clearance while JetBlue Flight 206 was preparing to land on an intersecting runway,” the statement said.

The FAA added: “An air traffic controller instructed the pilot of the Learjet to line up and wait on Runway 9 while the JetBlue Embraer 190 landed on Runway 4-Right, which intersects Runway 9. The Learjet pilot read back the instructions clearly but began a takeoff roll instead. The pilot of the JetBlue aircraft took evasive action and initiated a climb-out as the Learjet crossed the intersection."

"The FAA will determine the closest proximity between the two aircraft as part of the investigation," the statement said.

Representatives for Learjet could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

A spokesperson for JetBlue said Tuesday in an emailed statement that the flight in question performed a “go-around” before it landed. A go-around is when a crew decides not to land, figuring out a different way to land or a different airport to land at.

“JetBlue flight 206 landed safely in Boston after our pilots were instructed to perform a go-around by air traffic controllers,” the statement said. “Safety is JetBlue’s first priority and our crews are trained to react to situations like this. We will assist authorities as they investigate this incident.”

According to the flight-tracking site FlightAware, the flight took off from Nashville, Tennessee.

The Learjet was a private charter operated by Hop-A-Jet, the FAA said. No one with Hop-A-Jet could immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

The FAA issued a “safety call to action” this month and said it will form a safety review team after a string of concerning airline incidents.

“We are experiencing the safest period in aviation history, but we cannot take this for granted,” acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a memo released Feb. 14. “Recent events remind us that we must not become complacent.”

The memo was an acknowledgment of recent close calls plaguing the aviation industry.

In January, a Delta Air Lines plane about to take off was frantically ordered to halt when controllers noticed an American Airlines aircraft crossing its path at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. In December, a flight taking off from Maui, Hawaii, plummeted to merely 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean before it recovered. And in Austin, Texas, this month a FedEx cargo airplane trying to land and a Southwest Airlines flight preparing to take off narrowly avoided a collision.

Nolen said he is forming a safety review team “to examine the U.S. aerospace system’s structure, culture, processes, systems and integration of safety efforts” and to look for opportunities to address safety risks. 


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