Air Canada plane avoids potential catastrophe at SFO after 'radio problem'

Posted October 25, 2017

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says Air Canada flight 781 was inbound to San Francisco International Airport on Sunday night and was initially cleared for landing.

The East Bay Times reports that the flight from Montreal was given initial clearance to land.

Air Canada said in a statement Tuesday the crew did not receive any of the dispatches from the tower controller and that the airline is "investigating the circumstances".

An Air Canada flight landed at San Francisco airport Sunday after it had been told not to by traffic controllers who were uncertain the runway was fully clear. The Air Canada crew acknowledged the instruction when they were about 6 miles away from the airport, Gregor said. They eventually landed safely, but the FAA reportedly opened an investigation to determine how close flight AC759 came to crashing into the other airplanes.

At 9:26 p.m., the jet still ended up coming in for a landing, although the runway happened to be clear.

Nonetheless, the FAA is now investigating Sunday's breakdown in communication which is second unsafe incident involving an Air Canada flight at the same airport.

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The mishap comes after a July 7 near-miss at SFO in which Flight AC759 from Toronto lined up to land on Taxiway C, which was occupied by four passenger aircrafts, rather than Runway 28R where it had been cleared to land. "Upon landing the crew was informed the tower had attempted unsuccessfully to contact the aircraft, however, the message was not received by the crew".

The Air Canada crew did not acknowledge any of these instructions.

In July, another Air Canada plane almost landed on a crowded taxiway at San Francisco's airport.

The air traffic controllers thought there was still another plane on the same runway. In the meantime, the FAA issued new guidelines for nighttime landings and control tower staffing at San Francisco's airport.

Air Canada has so far not commented. Federal investigators determined that pilot error caused the plane to arrive too low at the airport runway.