suntimes
LABORIOUS 
Weather Updates

Oops! Flight from Chicago lands at wrong Missouri airport

Updated: February 14, 2014 6:31AM



BRANSON, Mo. — A Southwest Airlines flight that was scheduled to arrive Sunday night at Branson Airport in southwest Missouri instead landed at an airport 7 miles north — with a runway half the size of the intended destination.

Southwest Airlines Flight 4013, carrying 124 passengers and five crew members, was scheduled to go from Chicago’s Midway International Airport to Branson Airport, airline spokesman Brad Hawkins said in a statement late Sunday. But the Boeing 737-700 landed about 7 miles northeast at Taney County Airport, which is also known as M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport.

Hawkins did not have information on why the plane went to the wrong airport. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said the agency is investigating the incident.

“The landing was uneventful, and all customers and crew are safe,” Hawkins said.

It’s the second time in less than two months that a large jet has landed at the wrong airport. In November, a Boeing 747 that was supposed to deliver parts to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., landed 9 miles north at Col. James Jabara Airport. That plane was flown by a two-person crew and had no passengers.

The website for M. Graham Clark Airport says its longest runway is 3,738 feet. Branson Airport’s website says its runway is 7,140 feet long.

Flight tracking website Flightaware.com said the Southwest flight landed at 6:11 p.m. Sunday. It was partly cloudy and in the high 50s in Branson at that time.

“Our ground crew from the Branson airport arrived at the airport to take care of our customers and their baggage,” Hawkins said.

Flight 4013 had been scheduled to go from Branson to Dallas’ Love Field. Hawkins said a plane was flown in to Branson Airport about 10 p.m. to take the passengers and crew to Dallas, which flightaware.com showed landed at 11:42 p.m.

Hawkins said the aircraft at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport is able to take off on the smaller runway, and Southwest expects to fly it out “as early as tomorrow morning.”

The Taney County Sheriff’s Office referred all calls to M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport. Messages left for comment from M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport were not immediately returned.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.