The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has opened an investigation into an apparent near-miss at San Diego International Airport Thursday evening, agency officials confirmed to NBC 7.
An inbound SkyWest flight from Portland, Oregon, was on final approach, preparing to land a little after 10:30 when the pilot was waved off by air traffic controllers because another aircraft, a Delta flight headed to Detroit, was on the runway.
"Air traffic controllers at San Diego International Airport instructed the crew of SkyWest Flight 3446 to discontinue their approach to Runway 27 Thursday evening because another aircraft was on the runway preparing for departure," an FAA representative emailed NBC 7. "The other aircraft, Delta Air Lines Flight 2249, departed safely and the SkyWest aircraft landed later. The FAA is investigating."
Flight log data from aircraft tracking website FlightAware.com shows the inbound SkyWest jet descended to 200 feet above sea level at the time of its first landing attempt. The plane ended up touching down 12 minutes later.
According to Airbus' website, an A330-200 is a little more than 55 feet tall at the tip of its tail. A diagram on the FAA's website shows the eastern edge of the runway at San Diego International Airport is about 17 feet above sea level.
FlightAware.com records list the plane that SkyWest was operating as an Embraer E175 and the Delta as an Airbus A330-200 or an A332.
It's not known how many passengers or crew were on either of the planes involved in Thursday night's flight. According to SkyWest's website, though, an Embraer E175 can transport up to 76 passengers and has room for four crew members. Delta's website lists the Airbus A330-200 planes with seating for 234 passengers. Delta does not list crew sizes on its website, but it's presumed that aircraft has a minimum of four crew members as well.
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SkyWest Airlines issued a statement Friday night regarding the incident: "Alaska Airlines Flight 3446, traveling from Portland to San Diego, landed without incident at 10:55 p.m. last night. Air traffic control issued a 'go-around' to give further separation between aircraft. That’s a standard procedure. Our pilots are highly trained and skilled at responding to these type of situations."
A Delta spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.