NEWARK, N.J. (AP) An air traffic controller mistakenly gave a passenger jet the frequency for the wrong airport, an error that put that plane and another landing at Newark Liberty International Airport much closer than they should have been, authorities said Thursday.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the near miss, which occurred at 2:10 p.m. Wednesday between a Boeing 737 and an Embraer 145. The Boeing operated as Continental Flight 536 arriving from Phoenix, and the Embraer was Continental Express Flight 2614 arriving from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
According to FAA spokesman Jim Peters, an air traffic controller at the New York Terminal Radar Approach center on Long Island, which guides planes landing at New York area airports before turning them over to airport towers, mistakenly gave the Continental Express crew the frequency for the tower at nearby Teterboro Airport instead of Newark.
As a result, the Newark tower was temporarily unable to contact the crew as both planes approached Newark. They eventually were separated by 1 1/4 horizontal miles, or less than half the three-mile requirement set by the FAA, Peters said.