NTSB releases alert on preventing wrong airport landings

Washington – The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a new Safety Alert for flight crews to help prevent landings at the wrong airport, following two recent nighttime incidents involving large commercial aircraft.

In a November 2013 incident in Wichita, KS, and a Jan. 12 incident in Branson, MO, flight crews mistakenly landed at the wrong airport on runways about half the length of their destination’s runways. Although neither incident resulted in injuries or damage, NTSB stated that a serious incident could have occurred if the incorrect runways were not been able to accommodate the aircraft or contained other aircraft during the landings.

The board attributed the two incidents to poor situational awareness and to the flight crews not cross-checking their visual identifications against navigational aids or with air traffic controllers.

NTSB recommends that flight crews:

  • Follow standard operating procedures for landings
  • Familiarize themselves with the visual layout of the destination airports before the flight
  • Use additional caution when confirming their destination at night in an area with multiple airports