Pilots Still Struggle to Land Planes at SFO

Aeromexico Plane Nearly Lands on Wrong Runway at SFO FAA

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.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident, which marks the third time in six months a commercial flight has avoided a near-accident at San Francisco International Airport. During the latter incident, air traffic control was not sure if another aircraft would clear the runway by the time the Air Canada jet was ready to land.

In that incident, the plane disappeared from SFO's Airport Surface Detection Equipment/Airport Surface Surveillance Capability display - similar to radar - for almost 12 seconds, possibly because it was off course.

Air traffic controllers cleared Aeromexico flight 668 from Mexico City to land on San Francisco's Runway 28R, and the pilot of the aircraft acknowledged the instruction, according to the FAA, which is investigating.

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In October 2017, a controller repeatedly told an Air Canada flight to abort a landing at SFO airport and the flight landed regardless, the Associated Press reported. The flight landed safely on its second approach, but this is the third known apparent close call on a runway at SFO since July. They ordered the Aeromexico flight to delay its landing and circle back around.

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.

There have been multiple similar incidents since the summer, notably a near-miss involving an inbound Air Canada flight, which was reportedly just minutes away from disaster.

The incident happened at about 11:45, says the FAA.

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