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Southwest Co-Pilot Retires After Wrong Airport Landing

Southwest Airlines Co. said one of the pilots of a plane that landed at the wrong Missouri airport in January has retired and the other has returned to duty.

While confirming the captain of the flight was back at work and the first officer had elected to retire, Brandy King, a spokeswoman for the airline, declined to say which pilot was in control when the Boeing Co. 737 touched down.

Dallas-based Southwest has now concluded its investigation into the incident and continues to work with the National Transportation Safety Board on its probe, King said by e-mail today.

Southwest put the two pilots on paid leave pending the outcome of the carrier’s inquiry and investigations by U.S. regulators. Flight 4013 from Chicago landed at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport in Branson, which is 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the main airfield served by Southwest and has a runway only about half as long.

The captain of the flight is a 14-year Southwest employee, while the first officer has been with the airline for 12 years, according to Southwest.

It was the second such incident involving a U.S. commercial plane in two months. The Southwest flight was carrying 124 passengers and five crew members.

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