Near miss at Ronald Reagan National Airport, US Airways says it is investigating

UPDATE: Federal officials say they are investigating what happened when three commuter jets flew too close to one another near Washington. But they say none of three planes ever were on a collision course.

   Michael Huerta is the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. He said during a news conference Thursday that none of the planes was ever headed directly for one of the others.

   Huerta says the planes flew too close together based on distances established by federal regulations.

   The administrator says the incident happened Tuesday because of a miscommunication between a manager at Potomac Consolidated Terminal Radar Approach Control and two traffic management coordinators at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

   Traffic controllers had to redirect the planes because of bad weather developing south of the airport.

By JESSICA GRESKO, Associated Press

EARLIER STORY:

(CNN) -- Three planes at Reagan National Airport recently came close to crashing because of an air traffic control "miscommunication," federal authorities said Thursday.

The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon when air traffic controllers were making adjustments for landing and departing aircraft because of bad weather.

"During the switchover of operations, miscommunication between the Tracon and the DCA tower led to a loss of the required separation between two regional jets departing from Runway 1 and a regional jet inbound for Runway 19," the Federal Aviation Administration said.

"Tracon," or terminal radar approach control, is a reference to a regional radar facility. "DCA" is the International Air Transport Association code for Reagan National Airport.

The FAA is investigating and plans to take "appropriate action to address the miscommunication."

Authorities didn't identify the airlines involved in the incident, but US Airways issued a statement, saying "we are currently investigating and working with the FAA to determine what occurred. The safety of our customers and employees is always our top priority."
 
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