Friday, April 11, 2014

Southwest Co-Pilot Retires After Wrong Airport Landing

Southwest Airlines Co. said one of the pilots of a plane that landed at the wrong Missouri airport in January has retired and the other has returned to duty.

While confirming the captain of the flight was back at work and the first officer had elected to retire, Brandy King, a spokeswoman for the airline, declined to say which pilot was in control when the Boeing Co. 737 touched down.

Dallas-based Southwest has now concluded its investigation into the incident and continues to work with the National Transportation Safety Board on its probe, King said by e-mail today.

Southwest put the two pilots on paid leave pending the outcome of the carrier’s inquiry and investigations by U.S. regulators. Flight 4013 from Chicago landed at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport in Branson, which is 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the main airfield served by Southwest and has a runway only about half as long.

The captain of the flight is a 14-year Southwest employee, while the first officer has been with the airline for 12 years, according to Southwest.

It was the second such incident involving a U.S. commercial plane in two months. The Southwest flight was carrying 124 passengers and five crew members. 


NTSB Identification: DCA14IA037 
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO
Incident occurred Sunday, January 12, 2014 in Branson, MO
Aircraft: BOEING 737 7H4, registration: N272WN
Injuries: 131 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

On January 12, 2014, about 1810 local time, Southwest Airlines flight 4013, a Boeing 737-7H4, registration N272WN, mistakenly landed at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (KPLK), Branson, Missouri, which was 6 miles north of the intended destination, Branson Airport (KBBG), Branson, Missouri. The flight had been cleared to land on runway 14 at KBBG, which was 7,140 feet long, however, landed on runway 12 at KPLK, which was 3,738 feet long. There were no injuries to the 124 passengers and 7 crewmembers and the aircraft was not damaged. The aircraft was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as a regularly scheduled passenger flight from Chicago Midway International Airport (KMDW), Chicago, Illinois. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time.