The crew of American Airlines Flight 2, a Boeing 767 out of Los Angeles for New York, ultimately declared an emergency while trying to land in strong crosswinds at JFK, May 4, after apparently being denied their runway of choice. Speaking for the JFK Controller union, Steve Abraham told ABC news the pilot “had no choice. He couldn’t land 22L, it would have been illegal for him,” due to the crosswind. Wind was 320 at 23 gusting to 35, at the time. JFK’s main runway, 31 Left, has been closed for upgrades for about eight weeks, and controllers say that maintaining the flow of traffic at the airport has led to some less than ideal clearances. FAA spokesman Arlene Sarlac told AVweb Thursday that the agency studied the situation “for over a year” prior to closing the runway and worked with airlines who “agreed to reduce their schedules during this closure time.” The FAA says the situation at JFK is safe. After receiving their clearance, the crew of American Flight 2 said, “We can’t land on 22,” adding, “We’re breaking off approach and if you don’t give us to Runway 31R, we’re going to declare an emergency.” The controller responded “alright, I’ll pass it along, fly runway heading for now.” At that point, things got more serious.
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