None of the commuter jets that flew too close together near Washington on Tuesday was ever on course to collide with the others, federal officials said on Thursday.
US transportation secretary Ray LaHood strongly disputed media reports characterizing what happened near Ronald Reagan Washington national airport as a near-miss.
The problem occurred on Tuesday after a miscommunication between a manager at Potomac Consolidated Terminal Radar Approach Control and two traffic management coordinators at the airport.
Air traffic controllers at the time had been changing the direction planes were landing and taking off at the airport because of bad weather including several thunderstorms.
Controllers cleared two outbound flights to head in the direction of an incoming plane.