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FAA investigates LAX runway incursion

October 26, 2009 |  7:11 pm

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a runway incursion Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport in which two planes passed within 15 feet of each other, according to one witness.

It’s just the type of safety problem that the airport’s new $83-million center taxiway was designed to prevent.

Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman, said Monday that the incident occurred when a Midwest Airlines Embraer E-190 passed the hold bars on a taxiway and came closer than it should have to a Northwest Airlines Boeing 757 taking off on the south side’s inner runway.

Last June, LAX opened a 1.8-mile-long centerline taxiway between the two runways on the airport’s south side, where eight minor incursions have occurred since 2008. The new taxiway acts as a buffer zone where arriving aircraft can slow down and wait for clearance to cross the inner runway.

-- Dan Weikel