Austin airport near-miss with 2 planes caused by lack of technology, air traffic control

A near-miss at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in 2023 was caused by a lack of critical safety technology, and incorrect assumptions by an air traffic controller, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

On Feb. 4, 2023, a Fed-Ex cargo plane was less than 200 feet away from a crash with a Southwest Airlines passenger plane, after both were cleared to use the same runway on a foggy day.

Investigators said the air traffic controller told them he had expected the Southwest place to take off more quickly, and in hindsight, he could had had the Southwest crew wait until Fed-Ex landed.


The Fed-Ex captain told investigators he was irritated and perplexed when he heard the controller clearing Southwest for take-off. 

A crash was averted when the Fed-Ex captain's co-pilot saw the Southwest plane at the last second, and they pulled up.

The NTSB said they are calling on the FAA to use technology to support human operators, and require more low-visibility training to prevent similar situations in the future.