grounds pilots who landed jet at wrong airport
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[January 14, 2014]
By Kevin Murphy
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) — Southwest Airlines suspended two pilots from flying on Monday after
their jetliner with 124 passengers landed at the wrong airport near
Branson, Missouri, late on Sunday, a spokeswoman said.
A Southwest captain, who has worked 15 years for the airline, and
a first officer were removed from flying duties pending a federal
investigation of the landing, said Michelle Agnew, a Southwest
The Boeing 737-700 landed at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport
instead of at Branson Airport, the main commercial air strip near
Branson, which has a much longer runway, Southwest said in a
statement. The airports are about 7 miles apart.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the mistaken
landing but had no other comment, spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory
The plane left Chicago Midway Airport on Sunday on a flight to
Dallas Love Field with a planned first stop in Branson, a musical
entertainment and tourism mecca in southwest Missouri.
Southwest is looking into "all the circumstances" that led the
captain to land at the wrong airport, Agnew said.
After landing at the wrong airport, passengers were taken by ground
transportation to the correct airport and then were flown to Dallas
on another jet later on Sunday, she said. Southwest apologized to
passengers, is refunding the cost of their tickets and giving them
travel credits, she said.
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The airplane took off on Monday afternoon with a new flight crew,
Agnew said. It was bound for Tulsa, Oklahoma, for refueling and
would go back in service, she said.
The Branson landing marked the second time in less than two months
that a pilot landed a jetliner at the wrong airport in the Midwest.
On November 21, a Boeing 747 cargo plane flown by Atlas Air that was
supposed to land at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas,
instead landed on the much shorter runway at Colonel James Jabara
Airport, a Wichita city airport.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; editing by Scott Malone, Phil Berlowitz,
Dan Grebler and Amanda Kwan)
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