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2 jets came within 82 feet on ground at LAX

The FAA has determined a runway incursion brought two passenger planes within 90 feet of each other on the ground at Los Angeles International Airport.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday a runway incursion put a taxiing jet about 82 feet from a departing airliner — less than half the separation required by aviation rules.

The incident Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport involved a Midwest Airlines Embraer 190 that landed and taxied toward a runway on which a Northwest Airlines Boeing 757 was taking off for Honolulu.

The Midwest Airlines jet, arriving from Milwaukee, landed on the airport's southernmost runway and was told to turn onto a taxiway and hold there.

FAA spokesman Mike Fergus said the jet was supposed to stop 200 feet from the edge of a parallel runway but continued on. An alarm was triggered when the jet crossed the hold line marked by a bright yellow bar.

A controller saw what was happening and ordered the Midwest aircraft to stop, Fergus said. It halted about 70 feet from the edge of the runway.

Assuming the Northwest plane was in the center of the runway, the total distance between the Midwest jet's nose and the Northwest Airline's wingtip was about 82 feet.

Fergus said the incident was considered a runway incursion because the Midwest pilot crossed the hold line.

The airport has four parallel runways. Planes landing on the outer runways have to cross inner runways to reach the terminals.

Last fiscal year, eight runway incursions occurred at the airport, the FAA said.

In the spring, a warning system designed to prevent near accidents and other runway violations was installed at one runway and eight associated taxiways.

Sunday's incursion occurred at a taxiway and runway that did not have the system, called runway status warning lights, the agency said.