JetBlue flight and Learjet have ‘close call’ at Boston Logan International Airport, feds say

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a “close call” between a JetBlue flight that was preparing to land and a Learjet that took off without clearance Monday night at Boston Logan International Airport, the agency said in a statement.

The incident occurred shortly before 7 p.m. ET Monday night, the FAA said.

“According to a preliminary review, the pilot of a Learjet 60 took off without clearance while JetBlue Flight 206 was preparing to land on an intersecting runway,” the statement said.

The FAA added: “An air traffic controller instructed the pilot of the Learjet 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 read back the instructions clearly but began a takeoff roll instead. The pilot of the JetBlue aircraft took evasive action and initiated a climb-out as the Learjet crossed the intersection.”

“The FAA will determine the closest proximity between the two aircraft as part of the investigation,” the statement said.

Representatives for JetBlue and Learjet were not immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the FAA issued a “safety call to action” and said it will form a safety review team after a string of concerning airline incidents.

“We are experiencing the safest period in aviation history, but we cannot take this for granted,” acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a memo released Feb. 14. “Recent events remind us that we must not become complacent.”

The memo was an acknowledgment of recent close calls plaguing the aviation industry.

In January, a Delta Air Lines plane about to take off was frantically ordered to halt when controllers noticed an American Airlines aircraft crossing its path at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. In December, a flight taking off from Maui, Hawaii, plummeted to merely 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean before it recovered. And in Austin, Texas, this month a FedEx cargo airplane trying to land and a Southwest Airlines flight preparing to take off narrowly avoided a collision.

Nolen said he is forming a safety review team “to examine the U.S. aerospace system’s structure, culture, processes, systems and integration of safety efforts” and to look for opportunities to address safety risks. 

A safety summit will be held in March to explore what additional actions should be taken to ensure aviation safety, the memo said. 

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