Airline Go-Around Raises Fears
An Air Canada A320 crew mistakenly lined up to land on the parallel Taxiway C instead of Runway 28R last Friday at San Francisco International Airport, a mistake that was caught and corrected by air traffic controllers. The incident sparked widespread news reporting about the “near miss” that could have caused “the greatest aviation disaster in history.” The Mercury News, based in the Bay Area, broke the story on Monday. The story notes that “four airplanes full of passengers and fuel” were parked on the taxiway waiting to take off, and all of them could have been destroyed if the A320 had in fact tried to land there. Peter Fitzpatrick, an Air Canada spokesman, told The News that Flight AC759 from Toronto “landed normally without incident” after a go-around.
On the audio clip from atclive.net, the Air Canada pilot can be heard asking the tower why there are aircraft lights on the runway, and he is told there are no aircraft on the runway. Another unidentified voice then chimes in to say he’s lined up on the taxiway, and the controller tells him to go around. "If you could imagine an Airbus colliding with four passenger aircraft widebodies, full of fuel and passengers, then you can imagine how horrific this could have been," retired United Airlines Captain Ross Aimer, CEO of Aero Consulting Experts, told the Mercury News. "If it is true, what happened probably came close to the greatest aviation disaster in history.” The FAA is now investigating the incident, according to Reuters.