A Dallas-bound Southwest jet narrowly avoided disaster after landing on a shorter runway at the wrong airport in Branson, Missouri. VPC
A Southwest Airlines flight that landed at the wrong Missouri airport Sunday remains under investigation by the carrier and the Federal Aviation Administration, officials said.
The airline expects the flight 4013 aircraft fromChicago Midway that landed at Taney County airport rather than Branson airport to depart the mistaken airport Monday. The mistaken airport is about 7 miles north of the intended airport, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks flights.
Southwest brought another plane to Branson on Sunday for passengers to continue to Dallas Love Field.
"We have since reached out to each customer directly to apologize, refund their tickets, and provide future travel credit as a gesture of goodwill for the inconvenience," said Southwest spokeswoman Michelle Agnew.
"We continue to look into the circumstances which led the pilot in command of flight 4013 from Chicago Midway to land at the airport, several miles from the Branson Airport we serve."
The Boeing 737-700 carried 124 passengers and a crew of five, the airline said.
"Our ground crew from the Branson airport has arrived at the airport to take care of our customers and their baggage,'' spokesman Brad Hawkins said. "The landing was uneventful, and all customers and crew are safe.''
He said he had no explanation for why the jet landed at the county-owned airport, which primarily serves charter, corporate and general aviation flights. It was originally developed by the College of the Ozarks.
FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the agency is investigating the incident.
The flight was scheduled to go from Chicago to Branson, and then on to Dallas.
Jeff Bourk, executive director of the Branson Airport, said passengers were brought by bus to the correct airport, and Southwest brought in another aircraft for those traveling on to Dallas.
"It didn't sound like a typical plane," said Jeff Engel, a Branson teacher who lives less than a mile from the Taney airport. He said the plane sounded louder than what he was accustomed to hearing there.
"I wasn't concerned about any danger. My dog perked up and I thought it was unusual," he said. "Now it's kind of scary. You don't know what's going on."
Engel said he typically hears smaller planes landing and taking off at the airport. It is about eight miles north of the larger Branson Airport in Hollister, Mo.
The M. Graham Clark Airport started as a dirt runway in the late 1960s. The longest of the two asphalt runways there is 3,738 feet.. At the commercial Branson airport, the concrete runway is more than 7,000 feet in length.
In December, Southwest Airlines announced it will cease operations at the Branson Airport in June after serving the airport for about 15 months.