Photo from airliners.net. Audio from Liveatc.net
Southwest Cooperating in Midway Runway Incursion Investigation
Low Cost Carrier Southwest Airlines is assisting Federal Agencies in the investigation of a close call at Chicago’s Midway Airport last month. On December 1st of last year a SWA Boeing 737 arrived from Minneapolis with 74 passengers onboard and was cleared to cross Runway 31 Right. As the airliner began to cross the runway, the co-pilot noticed a smaller jet, a Learjet, accelerating down the runway for takeoff. The pilot of the Southwest flight was able to stop just in time, coming within just a couple hundred feet of the smaller business jet. The problem was that the Southwest Plane was cleared to cross and the smaller jet was also cleared for takeoff. Air Traffic Control failed to realize that two aircraft had been cleared for the same runway. It isn’t known if any Controllers have lost their jobs. Southwest is cooperating completely with the National Transportation Security Board (NTSB) in the incident. You can hear from the Air Traffic Control audio recording that the tower controller knew he did something wrong.