Air traffic control communications have revealed that an American Airlines Airbus A320 erroneously lined up for an approach to Page Field airport in Florida, rather than the nearby Fort Myers.
The A320 had been operating to Fort Myers from Philadelphia on 30 August and, while heading south-east, its crew had confirmed to the airport’s tower controllers that they had the field in sight.
It was instructed to join the approach at “Dolphin”, probably a reference to the waypoint DOLPN which lies 6.6nm from runway 06.
But automatic dependent surveillance data indicates that the aircraft turned left onto the approach too early, and lined up with runway 05 at Page Field, a general aviation airport situated some 12km north-west of Fort Myers airport.
Around a minute later, according to air traffic control recordings archived by LiveATC, the A320 crew transmits: “We gotta go around.”
The aircraft subsequently climbed away, turning south-west, before turning left again to line up for a visual approach to Fort Myers’ runway 06.
Meteorological data for the airports at the time, around 13:50, indicates good weather.
Page Field is a reliever airport which reduces the traffic pressure on Fort Myers in order to assist its development of commercial air transport operations.
Air traffic control communications at Page Field show that, around the time of the incident, arriving and departing aircraft were being directed to runway 13, which intersects runway 05.
Shortly after the A320’s missed approach, the Page Field tower responds to a query, from an unidentified source, about the unexpected presence of the Airbus.
“He thought we were [Fort Myers], was on short final for runway five,” the controller states, to which the other participant replies: “That’s embarrassing. What airline was that?”
When the tower controller confirms the carrier as American, the other party suggests the incident will be filed to the US FAA’s Aviation Safety Action Program, saying: ”That’s going to be an ASAP.”
Source: Cirium Dashboard