American Airlines 737 Goes For Slip And Slide In Jamaica

American Airlines Boeing 737-800

An American Airlines aircraft ended up drifting off the runway at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica after landing in bad weather.

On June 6, 2024, American Airlines flight 850 operated scheduled service from Miami (MIA) to Kingston (KIN) with a Boeing 737-800 (not a MAX 8) registered N879NN. Due to bad weather over Cuba and the surrounding regions, the crew flew west along to the Florida coast line and the Keys, going as far as Cuba’s west coast in order to skirt the weather system.

The avoidance measures bumped the usually 1 hour and 20 minute flight up to 2 hours and 30 minutes. Weather at the airport was not any better as the pilots flew a few circuits in hopes that conditions would improve at the field.

According to weather information around the time of approach and landing, there were cumulonimbus clouds as low at 1,800 feet with accompanying heavy thundershowers. Unfortunately I don’t have access to historical visibility data, but with the temperature and dew point being so close, coupled with the heavy rain, I wouldn’t doubt that visual conditions were not good.

  • 070300Z 02009KT TSRA BKN016 OVC018CB 25/25 Q1013 RERA=
  • 070200Z 36010KT +TSRA VCSH BKN016 BKN018CB 27/25 Q1012=
  • 070137Z 09006KT +TSRA BKN016 BKN018CB 28/25 Q1012=
  • 070100Z 12014KT -SHRA VCSH BKN016 BKN018CB 28/25 Q1011=

After landing around 9:30 p.m. local time, the aircraft veered off to the left onto grassy field before returning to the runway. From the below photos, both the left main landing gear and nose gear were covered in dirt and tall grass, with visible damage to the landing light housing cover and other components.

The crew managed to steer the aircraft out of the rain soaked field, and taxied to the ramp safely under its own power. Passengers interviewed by local media also confirmed the same, reporting that the flight was turbulent, with conditions worsening as they approached Kingston. They also reported a hard landing and felt the plane drifting to the left onto the grass.

In a statement to the media, American Airlines said:

“American Airlines flight 850 from Miami (MIA) to Kingston, Jamaica (KIN) briefly exited the runway after landing. The aircraft taxied to the gate under its own power, and customers deplaned normally. Safety is our top priority, and we apologize to our customers for their experience.”

Another Boeing 737-800 was ferried into Kingston early next morning to perform the return flight to Miami.

The incident is being investigated by both American Airlines and Jamaica’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Credit: aviationbrk/X
Credit: aviationbrk/X
Credit: aviationbrk/X
Credit: aviationbrk/X

Here is the perspective from one of the passengers at the front of the aircraft. It’s not the best video, but you can clearly see the aircraft veering off the edge.

This is the second time that American Airlines has encountered difficulty as Kingston. On December 22, 2009, another Boeing 737-800 overran the runway due to a combination of poor weather conditions and pilot error. The aircraft slid beyond the airport perimeter and broke apart into three pieces on the nearby beach. Luckily all 148 passengers and six crew members survived the incident.

Featured image: Bradley Wint/Gate Checked

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