A plane taking off Monday night at Logan International Airport had a “close call” with a JetBlue flight from Nashville preparing to land, the airline and Federal Aviation Administration said.
The incident occurred shortly before 7 p.m. and involved a Learjet and JetBlue Flight 206, the FAA said in a statement Tuesday.
“According to a preliminary review, the pilot of a Learjet 60 took off without clearance while JetBlue Flight 206 was preparing to land on an intersecting runway,” the FAA said. It didn’t identify the Learjet pilot or say who the plane belonged to.
“An air traffic controller instructed the pilot of the Learjet to line up and wait on Runway 9 while the JetBlue Embraer 190 landed on Runway 4-Right, which intersects Runway 9,” the FAA said. “The Learjet pilot read back the instructions clearly but began a takeoff roll instead.”
The JetBlue pilot took evasive action and initiated what is known as “a climb-out” maneuver as the Learjet crossed the intersection, avoiding a collision.
Jet Blue passengers seemed confused about the plane’s sudden turn upon landing, one traveler said.
As the plane descended, the wheels dropped down, but within seconds, the engines revved up and the plane climbed higher, passenger Joe Bisbee said.
“Everyone was kind of looking around, not knowing what was going on,” Joe Bisbee of Boston said by telephone Tuesday night. “I personally was stressed out and fearful.”
The plane landed about 15 minutes later, he said. Bisbee said he is grateful for the swift action of the JetBlue pilot and flight crew, but does not recall any explanation about what was happening.
As part of its investigation, the FAA will determine the “closest proximity” between the two planes.
In a separate statement, JetBlue said Flight 206 “landed safely in Boston after our pilots were instructed to perform a go-around by air traffic controllers. Safety is JetBlue’s first priority and our crews are trained to react to situations like this. We will assist authorities as they investigate this incident, and further inquiries should be directed to them.”
The Learjet was operated by Hop-A-Jet, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based private charter company. A spokesman for the company could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
In August, two Delta planes bumped each other at Logan when a plane clipped another aircraft as it was pushing back from its gate. No injuries were reported.
Other near-collisions between planes occurred earlier this month in Austin, Texas., and in January at JFK in Queens, N.Y., as well as on Feb. 22 in Burbank, Calif., according to published reports.
“Hearing lately how frequent it’s been happening, it’s really concerning, " said Lilly Sternburg, 25, of Sharon, who was traveling on Monday’s JetBlue flight with Bisbee.
Airlines need to inform passengers in such instances, Sternburg said.
“We found out via social media and online today what happened,” she said. “We did not know what happened last night.”
After this incident, Bisbee hopes to see some accountability because it’s only a matter of time until something tragic happens, he said.
“This was way too close of a call,” Bisbee said. “People were in legitimate fear. ... A tragedy could have happened if those planes collided, which is terrible.”
Correspondents Claire Law contributed to this report.
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.