A JetBlue flight nearly collided with a Southwest Airlines plane at Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport on Thursday, the latest close call to unfold at a U.S. airport. 

Southwest Airlines Flight 2937 had been instructed by air traffic control to cross runway No. 4 at the airport while JetBlue Flight 1554 was starting its takeoff roll on the same runway around 7:41 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the matter.

“JetBlue 1554, stop! “Southwest, stop! Southwest 2937, stop,”  someone could be heard yelling on radio traffic archived by the website LiveATC.

A source familiar with the matter told NBC News the planes came within 1,000 feet of each other.

JetBlue said its flight, bound for Boston, “aborted” takeoff “due to another aircraft attempting to cross the runway.”

No injuries were reported on the flight and the aircraft was inspected before takeoff resumed. 

“Safety is JetBlue’s first priority, and we will work closely with federal officials as this event is fully investigated,” the airline said. 

Southwest said it is “working with the FAA to fully understand the circumstances.”

JetBlue passenger Theresa Hofmann said in an interview that aired Friday on NBC’s “TODAY” show: “You’re about to like lose the ground underneath you and right before that’s about to happen we just slammed on the breaks.”

Now questions remain over what caused the mishap. 

“It appears that you had two different airplanes talking to two different controllers — one ground controller and one tower controller, so it appears to be an operational error,” NBC News aviation analyst Jeff Guzzetti said on “TODAY.”

A string of close calls at American airports have led to public concern. In February 2023, a landing Fedex cargo plane came close to colliding with a Southwest passenger plane that was about to take off at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport with 128 people on board after an air traffic controller may have double-booked the runway.

In March 2023, the FAA hosted a safety summit to assess whether changes need to be made regarding how American flights are regulated in the wake of a series of high-profile near-collisions. 

Following the summit, the FAA committed to “a goal of zero serious close calls.” The agency recently reported a 33% decrease in serious runway incursions in fiscal year 2024 compared with 2023.


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