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.
The plane was about a mile away from the San Francisco International Airport, air traffic controllers noticed the aircraft was lined up for Runway 28L instead, which was occupied by a Virgin America jet at the time, approximately 11:45 a.m.
The tower ordered the Aeromexico Boeing 737 jet to circle around. The Aeromexico flight was headed for a runway that was occupied by a Virgin America Airbus A320, which was waiting to take off for a journey to Kona, Hawaii, the FAA reported according to ABC 7 News. The R stands for right and the L stands for left, Gregor said.
The FAA is looking into this event.
Crew on the Aeromexico jet were "cleared to land on Runway 28R, and correctly read back that clearance".
Air traffic controllers realized the error and instructed the flight not to land.
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The controller feared another plane that had just landed might still be on the runway, but the Air Canada jet landed safely. There were no other planes on the path.
Retired airline captain and aviation safety expert John Cox Wednesday that he saw no cause for alarm. Aeromexico says they are "investigating the events".
On 7 July 2017, an Air Canada Airbus A320 operating a flight from Toronto almost landed on a taxiway at San Francisco.
Then on October 22, Air Canada Flight AC781 from Montreal landed despite attempts from air traffic controllers to get the pilot to circle around the airport due to uncertainty over whether the runway would be clear by the time they touched down. The FAA wants to know how this keeps happening in San Francisco.
He said officials have pushed for years to expand the airport, but there is significant community opposition.