Southwest 737 that landed at wrong airport to depart

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(Updated with NTSB statement in paragraphs 3 and 4, and more details)

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 that landed at the wrong airport in Branson, Missouri is expected to depart later today.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the 12 January incident. Southwest flight 4013 operating from Chicago Midway to Branson airport had landed at M Graham Clark airport, which serves only general aviation, about 14.2km (8.8 miles) away.

Southwest says it is looking into the circumstances of the incident, and does not comment further. "We expect the aircraft... to depart the airport today," it tells Flightglobal. The aircraft's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have been retrieved and are being brought back to Washington DC for analysis, says the NTSB.

"In addition, NTSB investigators will conduct interviews with the Southwest crew this week," adds the agency.

The airport that the aircraft landed at has a much shorter runway, at 1,139m (3,738 ft) compared with Branson's 2,176m runway. There were 124 passengers and five crew members on board.

Branson airport's executive director Jeff Bourk says in a statement that weather conditions were good at the time of the incident and the airport was operating normally.

The flight had been scheduled to continue on to Dallas Love Field, and Southwest says it deployed another aircraft to M Graham Clark airport on 12 January to transport the connecting passengers. Branson-bound passengers were transported by bus to Branson airport, says the airport operator.

Branson will be dropped from Southwest's network from 7 June. The airline has served the airport since 2012, when the city transitioned to Southwest from its subsidiary AirTran Airways. Southwest has said that the lack of local demand has not allowed it to serve the city profitably.

This is not the first time in recent months that a jet has landed at the wrong airport. In November 2013, a Boeing 747 Dreamlifter bound for McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita landed at a smaller airport 17km away instead.