Traffic Congestion May Have Led to JFK Crash: Report

Congestion may have caused delays that led to accident.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A wing of an Airbus A380, the world's biggest commercial passenger jet, clipped the tail of another plane while taxiing out to depart John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday night. (Published Monday, Apr 11, 2011)

    Federal investigators suspect traffic congestion as a possible cause for Monday's collision between a jumbo jet and a commuter jet at Kennedy Airport.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, congestion in the ramp area may have caused the smaller Comair jet to slow down before following the instructions of an air traffic controller. The Comair jet may have idled itself in a spot where the Air France A-380 didn't expect it to be, prompting the crash.

    Citing people familiar with the matter, the paper said that the investigation will focus on how frequently incoming planes stop in the same spot the Comair plane did, and whether that leaves room enough for other, larger jets to pass.

    The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to look at traffic-control tapes and flight-data recording information as it investigates the collision.

    Video of the collision shows the wing of the much larger Air France jet clipping the back of the commuter jet, turning it an almost full 90 degrees. All of the Comair's passengers were evacuated safely, and no one was injured.

    According to the Airbus website, A-380 planes are the largest commercial aircraft currently in operation, carrying up to 853 passengers on two decks. Because of this, taxi procedures of U.S. air-traffic controllers usually have strict rules to ensure other aircraft keep a safe distance.

    Industry and government officials told the Journal that the accident would not cause any significant changes to current taxi procedures for other airports, but that Kennedy Airport has already begun reviewing their safety policies.