The agency said in a statement that the FAA was investigating a “close connection” between the JetBlue flight that was preparing to land and a Learjet that took off without authorization Monday night at Boston Logan International Airport.
The FAA said the crash occurred shortly before 7 p.m. ET Monday night.
“According to a preliminary review, the pilot of a Learjet 60 took off without authorization while JetBlue Flight 206 was preparing to land on an intersecting runway,” the statement said.
The FAA added: “The air traffic controller instructed the Learjet pilot 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 clearly read the instructions but started the takeoff roll instead.” The JetBlue aircraft made an evasive move and began to climb as the Learjet crossed the intersection.”
“The FAA will determine the closest distance between the two aircraft as part of the investigation,” the statement said.
Learjet representatives were not immediately contacted for comment on Tuesday.
A JetBlue spokesperson said Tuesday in an emailed statement that the flight in question performed a “walk around” prior to landing. A detour is when the 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 go around by air traffic controllers,” the statement said. “Safety is JetBlue’s number one priority and our crews are trained to handle situations like this. We will assist the authorities in investigating this incident.”
According to the flight tracking website, FlightAwareThe flight took off from Nashville before arriving in Boston.
The FAA said the Learjet was a private charter aircraft operated by Hop-A-Jet. A person with the Hop-A-Jet could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier this month, the FAA issued a “Safety Call to Action” and said it would form a safety review team after a series of airline-related incidents.
“We are in the safest period in aviation history, but we cannot take this for granted,” FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen said in a February 14 memo.
The memo was an acknowledgment of the recent close calls plaguing the airline industry.
In January, a Delta Airlines plane about to take off was frantically brought to a halt when controllers noticed an American Airlines jet crossing its path at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. In December, a flight that took off from Maui, Hawaii, plunged to just 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean before recovering. And in Austin, Texas, this month a FedEx cargo plane attempted to land while a Southwest Airlines flight was preparing for takeoff, narrowly avoiding collision.
Nolen said he is putting together a safety review team to “examine the structure, culture, operations, systems, and integrity of the U.S. aerospace system” and look for opportunities to address safety risks.
The note said a safety summit would be held in March to explore additional measures that should be taken to ensure flight safety.
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