For the second time in only 6 months, an Air Canada flight is being investigated by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding an event at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) – this one on Sunday October 22nd.
Flight AC781, an Airbus 320 was arriving at SFO after a six hour flight from Montreal, Canada. According to the FAA, ATC had cleared the flight to land on runway 28R and the crew had acknowledged the instructions whilst some miles away from the airport.
However, during its final approach, a controller in the tower ordered the flight to make a go-around, as they were concerned that the preceding arriving jet might still be on the runway.
When the crew of Flight 781 failed to respond to six calls from the tower, ATC used a flashing red light gun - which is standard protocol when an aircrew is not responding to radio instructions - but the flight did not respond to this either.
Fortunately, the runway was clear of aircraft when the jet touched down safely at 9:26 p.m.
Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for Air Canada said: “Upon landing, the crew was informed the tower had attempted unsuccessfully to contact the aircraft, however the message was not received by the crew.”
In light of the first incident, Federal regulators had implemented new policies concerning landing procedures and control tower staffing levels at SFO, however when the crew eventually responded, they apparently told the tower that their radio had malfunctioned. Air Canada is also investigating the circumstances.