National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a runway incursion in Los Angeles, California in which two airliners may have missed each other by less than 40 feet.
On August 16, 2007, at approximately 1:00 p.m. Pacific daylight time, West Jet (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 West Jet flight landed on runway 24R, exited the runway, and held between the parallel runways as directed by the tower. However, without authorization, the West Jet crew changed radio frequencies and contacted ground control.
When contacted by the West Jet crew, the ground controller assumed that they had been cleared to cross runway 24L, and provided instructions for the West Jet flight to taxi to its gate. However, the tower controller expected the West Jet flight to hold and cleared the Northwest flight to takeoff from runway 24L.
The ground controller then realized that West Jet had not been instructed to cross runway 24L and told the West Jet flight to stop. According to the FAA, the West Jet 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 West Jet flight during its takeoff roll.
The Board notes that the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) was operational but it is unknown whether or not it activated.
NTSB Media Contact:
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.