LAX (CBSLA.com) – An employee at Los Angeles International Airport caused a near-miss on the airport’s runway Tuesday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA said a Compass Airlines Embraer E170 was cleared for takeoff about 11:50 a.m. when the pilots noticed a vehicle driven by an airport worker entering a runway toward the aircraft from a taxiway.READ MORE: Philanthropist Mackenzie Scott Gives Millions To Southern California's State Universities, Community Colleges
An alarm sounded at the air traffic control tower. The pilots were forced to apply the brakes, immediately abort the takeoff and pull off the runway.
The twin-engine jet was carrying 74 passengers and four crew members.
LAX operations quickly escorted the airport vehicle off the tarmac. The airport rescinded the employee’s authorization to drive on the airfield.
While some travelers at LAX were surprised, Ross Aimer, a retired captain and air-safety consultant, was not.READ MORE: LA City Council Returns To In-Person Meetings For First Time Since March 2020
“Every second of the taxi time could be a danger. Obviously, nothing will happen to the passengers, in most cases, even if they run into a small vehicle on the runway or taxiway,” Aimer said. “But obviously, it shouldn’t happen.”
According to Aimer, contractors can often be unfamiliar with protocols. He said sensors on the runway alert air traffic control to foreign objects.
“We have what we call a transponder that gives a position to the towers so they know which aircraft is supposed to be on the runway, which is not,” he said.
Airport operations said, at the time, it was also dealing with two other emergency landings.
The FAA is investigating the incident.MORE NEWS: Milestone: California Reopens, Lifts Majority Of Its Mask Restrictions, Ends Social Distancing Requirements
The jet did later take off for Kansas City International Airport.