The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has issued a safety alert to airlines following the near-disaster incident at San Francisco International Airport on July 7 where an Air Canada Airbus A320 came within sixty feet on top of four airliners as it came in to land on a taxiway. The crew was alerted and performed a go-around and landed safely.
In the alert, the FAA called the pilots’ error in lining up on a taxiway rather than runway 28R onto which it had been cleared, an “extreme example” of an incorrect approach.
“Due to the severity of the recent incident,” the report reads, airlines should use the error as a teaching moment.
Navigational tools in the plane and on the ground should alert crews when runway lighting is confusing or runways are closed. Communication between pilots in pre-flight briefings and during the landing should prepare them for a go-around if something “does not look correct” on approach the report says.
Since Air Canada continued to fly the airplane after the landing at San Francisco, tape over the conversation recorded by the cockpit voice recorder. What was said by the pilots before and during the landing was lost.
The FAA safety alert is a warning to airlines to use the Air Canada scare to enhance safety sooner rather than later.