Northwest Digest

Posted: Wednesday, November 01, 2006

FAA probes takeoff from wrong runway

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SEATTLE - Alaska Airlines and federal officials are investigating why one of the carrier's jets bound for Juneau took off from the wrong runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The incident happened about 8:40 a.m. Monday when Alaska Flight 61, a Boeing 737, was preparing to take off for the Alaskan capital with four crew members and 63 passengers, airline spokeswoman Amanda Tobin Bielawski said Tuesday.

KING-TV, which first reported the incident, said the plane was told by air traffic controllers to depart from Runway 34 Center.

The pilots twice correctly read back that they were going from 34 Center, but instead took off from Runway 34 right, KING reported, citing the Federal Aviation Administration.

The runway was clear, and air traffic controllers did not ask the plane to abort its takeoff, which occurred normally, Bielawski said.

"We are currently reviewing the situation in conjunction with the FAA," she said.

She said she was not aware of any preliminary explanation of why the mishap occurred, or when crew members realized they had taken off from the wrong runway. She said no action had been taken against any of the crew members.

"Right now, the situation is under review and we need to wait for that review," she said.

It's unclear how long the review will take, Bielawski said.

"We're definitely looking to take steps, if appropriate, to prevent a recurrence of this situation," she said.

BP names new chief of Alaska operations

ANCHORAGE - BP announced Tuesday it will replace the head of its Alaska operations.

Doug Suttles has been named president of BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. and will take over the company's top Alaska job Jan. 1.

He will replace Steve Marshall, who was named operations development vice president.

Marshall has been in the media and congressional spotlight this year answering questions about the company's corrosion control problem on Alaska's North Slope.

BP spokesman Daren Beaudo said the change was not connected to the company's handling of corrosion.

"The answer is no," he said.

Marshall will move to a training job and will be a key part of BP efforts to improve the quality of its upstream operations around the world, Beaudo said.

Nome airport reopens following bomb threat

NOME - The Nome Airport reopened Monday night after a bomb-sniffing dog found no explosives during a sweep, an airport official said Tuesday.

The airport was reopened at 10 p.m. for both cargo and passenger businesses, said John Lane, the incident commander who oversaw Monday's search.

The airport was closed about 11 a.m. Monday after officials received an e-mail saying someone had placed a bomb at the airport, Alaska State Troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said.

The dog and its U.S. Army handler were flown 560 miles from Anchorage to check the airport. That came after a cursory check by Nome officials found no bombs earlier in the day.

The dog also found nothing suspicious, Lane said.

"After finding nothing, we reopened the airport," he said. "It is business as usual this morning."

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