(The taxi paths of the American B-777 (orange, terminal through taxiway J) and the Delta B-737 (blue, taxiway K and runway 4L),

The taxi paths of the American B-777 (orange, terminal through taxiway J) and the Delta B-737 (blue, taxiway K and runway 4L), based on ADS-B data, with times annotated at select locations. Satellite image annotated by NTSB.​

Runway Incursion and Rejected Takeoff American Airlines Flight 106, Boeing 777-200, N754AN, and Delta Air Lines Flight 1943, Boeing 737-900, N914DU

What Happened

​​ On January 13, 2023, about 2044 local time, American Airlines (AAL) flight 106, a Boeing 777-223, N754AN, crossed runway 4L on taxiway J without air traffic control (ATC) clearance at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Queens, New York, causing Delta Air Lines (DAL) flight 1943, a Boeing 737-900ER, N914DU, to abort its takeoff roll on runway 4L. None of the 6 crew and 153 passengers on DAL1943, nor the 12 crew and 137 passengers on AAL106, were injured, and there was no damage to either aircraft. AAL106 operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 scheduled international passenger flight from JFK to London Heathrow International Airport (LHR), London, United Kingdom. DAL1943 was a CFR Part 121 scheduled international passenger flight from JFK to Santo Domingo (SDQ), Dominican Republic. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the airport at the time of the incident.

The flight crew of AAL106 was instructed to taxi to runway 4L for departure via taxiway B to taxiway K. During the taxi, they were instructed to cross runway 31L. The airplane approached the intersection of taxiways B and K, and rather than turning right onto K as instructed, the captain continued along taxiway B, which curved to the left. The captain subsequently turned right onto taxiway J before crossing runway 4L, from which DAL1943 had just begun its takeoff roll. Airport surface detection equipment, model X (ASDE-X) alerted the tower controller to the conflict, and the controller cancelled DAL1943’s takeoff clearance. The crew of DAL1943 rejected their takeoff, reaching a maximum groundspeed of about 105 knots, about 2,300 ft from the taxiway J intersection. AAL106 continued across runway 4L and DAL1943 came to a stop before taxiing off the runway onto an adjacent taxiway without further incident.                     

What We Found

​The NTSB determines that the probable cause of this incident was the American Airlines flight 106 (AAL106) crew’s surface navigation error due to distractions caused by their performance of concurrent operational tasks during taxi, which resulted in a loss of situational awareness. Contributing to the incident was the air traffic control tower team’s nondetection of the AAL106 crew’s deviation from taxi instructions while performing concurrent operational tasks; the timing of the runway status light system, which activated too late to prevent the AAL106 crew from crossing the runway hold short line; and American Airlines’ lack of adequate risk controls to prevent concurrent flight crew tasks from leading to distraction, loss of situational awareness, and deviation from an authorized taxi clearance. Reducing the severity of the incident, and likely preventing an accident, was the activation of the ASDE-X warning in the air traffic control tower and the local controller’s prompt cancellation of DAL1943’s takeoff clearance.​

What We Recommended

​As a result of the investigation, we issued recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration.​