Near disaster as an American Airlines plane flies by in

Near disaster as an American Airlines plane flies by in front of the departing Delta Jet in New York – view from the wing

Almost a disaster as an American Airlines plane passes in front of the departing Delta jet in New York

by Gary Leff on January 14, 2023

On Friday evening, American Airlines Flight 106 from New York JFK to London Heathrow was in a near miss with a Delta Air Lines Boeing 737 en route to Santo Domingo. The American plane appears to have attempted to take off from the wrong runway. The incident was the first reported early Saturday morning from flight control JonNYC.

The American Airlines plane was scheduled to exit runway 4L but stopped just short of 31L – and cruised in front of the Delta plane. Air traffic control yelled, “Delta 1943 cancel takeoff clearance!” The Delta aircraft halted its takeoff and cleared the runway.

ATC:Fuck! Delta 1943 cancels takeoff clearance! Delta 1943 canceled takeoff clearance.

Delta: Reject

ATC: Okay, phew, Delta 1943. Delta 1943, can you taxi, or do you need a few minutes to do checks?

Delta: Yes, we can exit Delta 1943 runway.

Meanwhile, air traffic control had words for the American crossing ahead of an active runway:

American: The last clearance we were given, we were cleared to cross, is that correct?

ATC: American 106 Heavy, we’re turning left off runway 4, I guess we’ll listen to the tapes, but you’re supposed to be turning left on runway 4, you’re going left just short of runway 31.

JonNYC shares Air Traffic Control audio excerpts:

After 14 seconds in this image you can see the Delta plane begin to take off and be aborted at the last minute as the American Airlines Boeing 777-200 cruises right in front.

A Delta flight passenger, Brian Healy, reports that in 1943 Delta had accelerated “2 or 3 seconds” when it began to brake, to the amazement of the passengers, who “gasped[ed]’ and fell into ‘complete silence’ before hearing from the captain, who informed the passengers that they had been ordered by air traffic control to abort. They rolled back to the gate and tried again the next morning.

Here’s a report that JonNYC is sharing from someone on board the American plane.

Ultimately, air traffic control saw what was happening and acted quickly when the American flight to London appeared to have misunderstood his instructions. I have reached out to American Airlines for comment and will report back when I receive feedback.