Jets avoid near collision at Baltimore-Washington airport


LINTHICUM, Md. (eTN) – Two passenger jets passed within 300 feet of each other while one was landing and the other taking off at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport last week, a federal aviation official said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident, which occurred at the intersection of two runways Sunday night.

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The near-collision occurred the same week that congressional investigators released a report on an investigation that found air travelers face a high risk of a catastrophic collision on U.S. airport runways because of faltering federal leadership, malfunctioning technology and overworked controllers.

The Government Accountability Office said that in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, there were 370 runway incursions — an aircraft, vehicle or person that enters a space reserved for takeoff or landing.

In the BWI incident, a ComAir flight taking off from the airport flew over an America West plane that had just landed, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said.

The investigation is focusing on possible mistakes by air traffic controllers, and not pilot error, the spokesman said.

There were 46 people aboard ComAir Flight 5412, and 155 people on the U.S. Airways/America West Flight 83.