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NTSB Issues Safety Alert After Recent Wrong Airport Landings

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a new Safety Alert today in response to two transport category planes recently landing at the wrong airports. The Safety Alert, titled "Landing at the Wrong Airport" reminds pilots of the vigilance required to avoid mistakes that could cost lives.

In January 2014, a Southwest Airlines flight landed at the wrong airport in Branson, Missouri. The pilots made a visual approach to the wrong airport without checking their cockpit displays, which indicated the correct destination airport. The pilots had to slam on the brakes to stop the Boeing 737 airplane from going off of the 3,738-foot runway. Luckily, no injuries were reported in the incident.

In November 2013, a Boeing 747 cargo plane landed at the wrong airport in Wichita, Kansas. The pilots of the cargo plane were cleared to land at McConnell Air Force Base. They saw runway lights for Jabara Airport and continued their approach to the wrong airport by visual reference. The pilots were able to safely land the plane at Jabara, which has a runway roughly half the length of the runway at McConnell.

These types of wrong airport landings can be very dangerous. Both of the flights listed in the Safety Alert could have easily overrun the runways, resulting in disaster. "All of us have experienced a loss of situation awareness at some time, but the consequences for pilots mistaking a nearby airport for the intended one, or landing at the wrong runway or a taxiway, can have catastrophic consequences," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman in the press release announcing this Safety Alert. "It's so important to maintain a vigilant approach to following procedures throughout every flight."

Source: NTSB

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