FAA investigating another Air Canada incident at San Francisco Airport

A view out towards SFO’s runways. Credit Mike Killian

Officials said the Air Canada crew did not acknowledge the instructions after being told multiple times to go around, prompting an airport supervisor to use a red light gun to alert the crew. The flight originated in Montreal. At about 3:55, Air Canada finally responds, saying it had radio trouble.

Federal investigators are probing why an Air Canada flight crew did not hear repeated warnings from air traffic controllers to abort a landing at San Francisco International Airport Sunday night, less than four months after a near-miss landing at SFO by a jet from the same airline.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said that the crew acknowledged the tower's initial clearance to land but did not respond to the subsequent orders. They eventually landed safely, but the FAA reportedly opened an investigation to determine how close flight AC759 came to crashing into the other airplanes. Instead, the flight landed, as previously authorised, on runway 28R at 9:26 p.m. PDT (0626 GMT).

"That's pretty evident", an air traffic controller told the crew before providing instructions on where to taxi.

A radar replay showed the preceding arrival was in fact clear of the runway when Air Canada landed, he added.

Air Canada is investigating the incident, airline spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said.

Pilots told investigators "they did not recall seeing aircraft" on the taxiway but "something did not look right to them", a National Transportation Safety Board report said. A pilot of a plane on the ground had also inquired about the Air Canada plane's status.

This isn't the first time that Air Canada has had issues at SFO.

Air traffic control helped stem the collision by ordering the pilot to abort the landing and circle the airport.

It follows an incident on July 7 at SFO when an Air Canada jet nearly struck planes on the ground after it lined up wrongly to land.

We've reached out to Air Canada for further comment, and will update as soon as they provide further information.

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