Two CAL pilots suspended

The two pilots of the Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) flight, which almost collided with a JetBlue plane at JFK International Airport in New York last Saturday night, have been taken off duties, pending the outcome of an investigation.

This was confirmed by director of the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority (TTCAA) Ramesh Lutchmedial in a news release.

He did not say whether they are on suspension.

He noted, though, that safety inspectors of the TTCAA are expected to meet with Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials at JFK Airport to determine the facts surrounding the incident.

He said CAL is fully co-operating with the investigators.

The JetBlue passenger flight 1295, which was bound for Texas, was forced to abort its take-off after BW526 shot across the runway in front its path.

Reports have stated the CAL flight had landed on runway 22L of JFK at 10:27 p.m. following a flight from Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana.

Its pilots were instructed by air traffic controllers to “hold short” or stop before the parallel runway (22R) on which JetBlue 1295 was about to gain speed for take-off.

According to a transcript of the ATC instructions, the CAL pilots were warned on three occasions to stop.

At 10.30 p.m, the final warning was given: “Caribbean 526, hold short… 526 STOP!”

The CAL pilots never responded and as a result JetBlue 1295 was immediately told to abort take-off to avoid a collision.

There were no injuries to passengers and both planes were not damaged. The JetBlue, an Airbus320, returned to the gate and took off for Austin, Texas three hours later.

In the news release, CAL said it was taking the alleged incident very seriously.

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