Southwest Plane Lands at Wrong Airport

The flight bound for Branson, Mo., touched down 7 miles away

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 13, 2014 6:29 AM CST

(Newser) – "The landing was uneventful, and all customers and crew are safe," says a Southwest Airlines rep of Flight 4013. So why is it making headlines? Because the flight, with 124 passengers and another five crew, was supposed to travel from Chicago's Midway to Branson Airport in southwest Missouri yesterday. Instead it landed at another airport about seven miles away ... that only had about half as much runway. CNN reports that the pilot had to "do a lot of heavy braking," but managed to stop the plane about 300 feet before the end of the 3,738-foot runway; Branson's runway is 7,140 feet. A passenger tells the network the pilot then said, "Welcome to Branson."

Or not: The Boeing 737-700 actually touched down at Taney County Airport, which the News-Leader reports is part of the College of the Ozarks campus. The rep had no information on why the plane went to the wrong airport, but the FAA is digging in. This marks the second time in less than two months that a large jet has landed at the wrong airport. In the November case, the plane had some issues getting out of Kansas; the AP reports that's not expected to be the case in Missouri, where the plane could fly out "as early as (Monday) morning." There won't be many more opportunities for such a mishap again: The News-Leader reports that Southwest will no longer fly in and out of Branson Airport as of June.

This frame grab provided by KSPR-TV shows a Southwest Airlines flight that was scheduled to arrive Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, at Branson Airport in southwest Missouri.
This frame grab provided by KSPR-TV shows a Southwest Airlines flight that was scheduled to arrive Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, at Branson Airport in southwest Missouri.   (Uncredited)
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