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Wrong-runway confusion during landing at SFO

13 January 2018

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating another runway incident that happened at SFO Tuesday when a flight had to be redirected to avoid landing on an occupied runway, according to authorities.

Despite the Aeroméxico pilot confirming the tower's direction to land on runway 28 right, The Boeing 737 lined up for the parallel runway 28 left, which was already occupied by a Virgin America flight waiting for takeoff.

An Aeromexico plan almost landed on the wrong SFO runway on Tuesday morning, airport officials said. The controller thought that there was a plane in the area that had not yet taken off, but the flight landed safely on the runway, which was vacant by the time of the landing.

Air traffic controllers realized the error and instructed the flight not to land.

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And in October an Air Canada flight Air Canada landing in San Francisco prompts another FAA probe to abort its landing. Tuesday's incident follows a near mishap in July 2017 when an Air Canada flight from Toronto nearly landed on a taxiway at SFO that was crowded with planes. The official said the FAA is looking into the event. The Air Canada pilots mistook the taxiway for the runway next to it.

That incident led to changes in control tower staffing at night and procedures pilots must follow when landing at the airport during certain nighttime hours. Within 59 feet of the runway, the pilot noticed the issue and circled around.

After landing, the flight crew indicated they'd had a radio problem.

The controller feared another plane that had just landed might still be on the runway, but the Air Canada jet landed safely. At the same time, a Virgin America Airbus A320 was stopped on Runway 28L awaiting take-off to Kona, Hawaii, according to the FAA.

Wrong-runway confusion during landing at SFO