Air disaster narrowly avoided at the airport in Austin, Texas!
On February 4, 2023, at 06:40 local time (UTC-6), a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 (N7827A) was cleared to take off from runway 18L at Austin, Texas International Airport, bound for Cancun, Mexico, as flight WN708. At the same time, a Boeing 767-300F FedEx Express (N297FE) arriving from Memphis, Tennessee, flight FX1432, was on short final and cleared to land on the same runway.
The FedEx plane descended to 150 feet before aborting the landing and initiating a left go-around due to runway traffic. The Southwest plane was instructed to abort takeoff and turn right on the first possible shoulder, but in the meantime, it continued takeoff and turned right immediately after takeoff.
If the Flightradar24 data is correct (see video below), at one point the planes were on the same vertical with minimal separation.
Southwest Boeing 737 (N7827A, 2003) departed runway 18L at Austin Intl AP (KAUS), TX when a FedEx Boeing 767F (N297FE, 2012) was on short final for the same rwy. The 767 pilots initiated a go-around while the 737 immediately turned right after takeoff. https://t.co/Yrqr8piIyK pic.twitter.com/9t85WeG3d5- JACDEC (@JacdecNew) -
At that time, the local weather at the Austin airport was low visibility and fog. The planes could not be seen, and the control tower had no visual contact with the runway.
We have processed and analyzed the granular ADS-B data related to yesterday's incident involving a FedEx 767 and Southwest Airlines 737 in Austin. Initial analysis and data available for download at https://t.co/J6gs72Ymly #WN708 # FX1432 pic.twitter.com/lhJZj3SsY0- Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) -
The FAA acknowledged the serious incident: “ A Boeing 767 cargo plane operated by FedEx aborted its landing at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Saturday after an air traffic controller cleared a Boeing 737 operated by Southwest Airlines to depart ahead of the FedEx plane. "
The NTSB stated that " is investigating an aviation incident at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport that occurred Saturday, a possible runway incursion and overflight involving Southwest Airlines and FedEx aircraft. "