Jet halts takeoff in close call at NYC airport

NEW YORK (AP) — A jet carrying 286 passengers slammed on its brakes and aborted a takeoff this week at Kennedy Airport after another plane began taxiing toward the runway it was using, the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday.

Lufthansa Flight 411 was cleared for takeoff and EgyptAir Flight 986 was instructed to stay behind a “hold line,” 250 feet behind the runway, at 6:50 p.m. Monday, said FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen. The EgyptAir crossed the line but did not enter the runway, she said.

“When air traffic control saw that, it canceled the takeoff for Lufthansa,” Bergen said, adding that the Lufthansa plane stopped “a considerable distance” from the EgyptAir jet.

In radio recordings posted on the website LiveATC.net, a controller in the JFK tower is heard giving takeoff clearance to the Lufthansa flight while another controller directs the EgyptAir plane.

“No! Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa!” shouts someone in the tower as the EgyptAir plane crosses the hold-short line.

“Cancel takeoff! Cancel takeoff plans!” a controller shouts to the Lufthansa jet.

The Lufthansa plane, an Airbus A340, slammed on its brakes and came to a stop. Then it taxied off the runway. The pilot told controllers he was worried his brakes may have overheated, so controllers sent a Port Authority crew to help check the plane’s landing gear.

“That was quite a show. Thought it was going to be a short career,” a pilot who witnessed the aborted takeoff remarked on the radio.

The FAA was looking at “pilot deviation” because the EgyptAir plane, a Boeing 777, didn’t follow air traffic instructions.

“The pilot was instructed to turn onto another taxiway but did not,” Bergen said.

She said the FAA is investigating and will determine how close the two planes came.

EgyptAir officials said they had no knowledge of the close call.

The Lufthansa flight was heading to Munich, airline spokesman Martin Riecken said. After the takeoff was halted, the captain returned to the gate for a maintenance check while the passengers remained on the plane. The fight departed about two hours later, Riecken said.

There were no reports of injuries.

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