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Southwest Plane to Leave Taney Co. Airport Before 1 p.m.

BRANSON, Mo. -- A Southwest Airlines jet that mistakenly landed at the wrong airport is set to take off from the Taney County Airport before 1 p.m. Monday, according to airport security.
BRANSON, Mo. -- A Southwest Airlines jet that mistakenly landed at the wrong airport is set to take off from the Taney County Airport before 1 p.m., according to airport security.

KOLR10's Brett Martin is on scene, working to get their plan of action confirmed, and will have additional coverage on KOLR10 as the story develops.

On Sunday, Southwest Airlines Flight 4013, carrying 124 passengers and five crew members, was headed from Chicago's Midway International Airport to Branson Airport.  Instead, the jet landed about seven miles at Taney County Airport, an airport that has only about half as much runway.

According to Dallas-based Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins, the landing was uneventful and all customers and crew are safe.

However, some of the passengers disagreed.

“They said that we had stopped in like 3,300 feet, and usually I think they were saying that it should take 5,000 feet for a plane to stop,” passenger Shannon Spear told the station. “So, we were very lucky indeed, especially considering that there was a cliff at the end of the runway."

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.

According to airport officials, the Sunday-night debacle not only displaced the passengers from the airline, but also passengers waiting on the flight at the Branson Airport to travel to Dallas. Southwest Airlines brought another aircraft into the Branson Airport to accommodate passengers scheduled to depart Branson for Dallas Sunday at 5:50 pm. The delayed flight departed Branson at 10:36 pm.

The following is a statement posted by Southwest Airlines at 9 a.m. on Monday:

We expect the aircraft that landed at (PLK) Taney County airport in Branson, Missouri, to depart the airport today. We continue to look into the circumstances which led the Pilot in command of flight 4013 from Chicago Midway to land at the airport, several miles from the Branson Airport we serve. We are cooperating with authorities in this investigation. We want to thank first responders and Branson Airport Administrators for joining in the work with our ground operations staff to immediately take care of our Customers and their baggage last night. We have since reached out to each Customer directly to apologize, refund their tickets, and provide future travel credit as a gesture of goodwill for the inconvenience. Another aircraft was brought into Branson last evening to bring continuing Customers on the flight to Dallas Love Field.

The jet is set to take off to the east, thanks to westward winds.  

According to a statement, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently joined in the investigation into the events leading to the jet landing at the wrong airport.  The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder from the airplane have been secured and are being brought back to Washington, D.C. for readout and analysis. In addition, NTSB investigators plan to conduct interviews with the Southwest crew this week.

Stay tuned for more details.  KOLR10 will be live when the jet takes off.
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