Changes Made At SFO After Taxiway Incident
The FAA has made operational changes at San Francisco International Airport in response to last month’s aborted landing by an Air Canada A320, the Bay Area News Group reported on Tuesday. The FAA no longer allows visual approaches for aircraft approaching SFO at night with an adjacent parallel runway closed, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told the News Group. “When these conditions prevail, our controllers issue pilots Instrument Landing System approaches or satellite-based approaches, which help pilots line up for the correct runway,” Gregor said. Additionally, SFO is requiring two controllers to remain on position working traffic until the late-night arrival rush is over.
On the night of July 7, Air Canada Flight 759 flew as low as 59 feet off the ground above the taxiway, where four airliners were waiting to fly, before aborting the landing. Two controllers were working at the time, but only one was in the tower, and he was busy talking to another facility during Flight 759’s approach. “Following the event, SFO tower management adopted a policy requiring two controllers to be on position working traffic until the late-night arrival rush is over,” Gregor said. The Air Canada pilots were cleared to land on Runway 28 Right. A parallel runway, 28 Left, was closed and its lights were turned off, adding to the flight crew’s confusion. The ATC audio from the approach can be heard here.