SFO-bound flight comes close to landing on wrong runway
Jan. 11--An Aeromexico flight into San Francisco International Airport came close to landing on the wrong runway, federal officials said Wednesday, putting at risk another plane that occupied the airstrip.
The flight from Mexico City was cleared by air traffic controllers to touch down on Runway 28R, one of the airport's four principal runways, about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, according to Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Even though the crew repeated back the air tower's instructions, the plane lined up for a different landing path, Runway 28L, Gregor said.
Air traffic controllers noticed the error when the plane was about a mile from the airport and successfully ordered the pilot to abort the landing. A Virgin America jet was on Runway 28L waiting for take-off clearance at the time, Gregor said.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.
The blunder follows a pair of missed signals by Air Canada pilots last year. In July, a plane came within 100 feet of striking two commercial jets on a taxiway when it nearly landed on the wrong runway. The landing was called off shortly before touch-down. In October, another flight came down on a runway that it wasn't cleared for. There were no other planes on the path.
Kurtis Alexander is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @kurtisalexander