2017-07-07 Air Canada A320 lined-up on taxiway on approach to San Francicso

2017-07-07 Air Canada A320 lined-up on taxiway on approach to San Francicso

2017-07-07 Air Canada A320 lined-up on taxiway on approach to San Francicso


The Airbus A320 was forced to make a late go-around on final approach to San Francisco Intl Airport after it lined-up on a parallel taxiway occupied by other aircraft at the time.


Air Canada flight AC 759 from Toronto carrying 135 passengers and 5 crew members was on an FMS Quiet Bridge visual approach for landing on runway 28R at San Francisco International Airport, CA (Chart) in darkness but good visibility conditions. The flight was cleared to land behind a Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-900 (DL 521) and the landing clearance correctly acknowledged.

On final approach, the aircraft began deviating to the right of the proper approach track aiming to the parallel taxiway „charlie“.

The pilots questioned the tower about disturbing lights that appeared to be on the runway but the tower controller responded there is no other aircraft on the runway.

At the time several other departing aircraft queued on taxiway „Charlie“ awaiting departure from runway 28R after the landing of AC 759. The first in the line was United Airlines flight 1 (UAL 1) from San Francisco to Singapore, a Boeing 787-900 (N29961). It was only after the pilot of this aircraft expressed his concerns about the misdirected approach when tower controller instructed AC 759 to do a go-around.

The pilots immediately responded and abandoned the landing. According to flight tracking websites, the A320 was put into a climb at about 100 feet after already overflying a portion of taxiway Charlie as well as two widebody passenger aircraft and the flight returned for a safe landing on runway 28R about 15 minutes later. 

This serious incident is under investigation.

METAR: San Francisco Intl Airport (SFO, KSFO) :

07/07/2017 23:56->
METAR KSFO 080656Z 29009KT 10SM CLR 16/09 A2992 RMK AO2 SLP132
07/07/2017 22:56->
METAR KSFO 080556Z 29012KT 10SM CLR 17/09 A2993 RMK AO2 SLP135
           T01720094 10244 20172 51010=


Soundfile provided by LiveATC.net

ATC Radio Transcript SFO-Tower:

(Note: this transcript is inofficial and can contain inadequate data)

AC 759: „Tower, Good evening,  Air Canada 759 with you … visual runway 28Right.
SFO-Tower: „Air Canada 759 you’re cleared to land runway 28Right, wind 270 (degrees) at eight (knots).“
AC 759: „Cleared to land runway 28R, Air Canada 759.“

AC 759: „And Tower just to confirm, its Air Canada 759 we see some lights on the runway there, crossing runway, confirm we’re cleared to land ?“
SFO-Tower: „Air Canada 759 confirm cleared to land runway 28R, there is no one on 28R but you.“
AC 759: „Okay Air Canada 759.“
UNK Pilot: „[unintelligible]..is this guy doing ? He’s on the taxiway !“
SFO-Tower: „Air Canada go-around.“
AC 759: „In the go-around Air Canada 759.“
SFO-Tower: „759 looks like you’re lined up for Charlie there. Fly heading 280. Climb and maintain 3000.“
AC 759: „Heading 280, 3000, Air Canada 759.“
UAL 1: „Ah United 1, Air Canada flew directly over us..squawk 7591 Air Canada flew directly over us.“
SFO-Tower: „Yeah I saw that, guys.“

Live ATC Traffic provided by

2017-07-17 NTSB issued a preliminary statement on their website about the case:

„On July 7, 2017, about 2356 Pacific daylight time, Air Canada flight 759, an Airbus A-320, C-FKCK, was cleared to land on runway 28R at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco, California, but instead lined up on parallel taxiway C, which had four air carrier airplanes on it awaiting takeoff clearance (a Boeing 787 that was first in line followed by an Airbus A340, another Boeing 787, and a Boeing 737). The flight descended below 100 feet above the ground and initiated a go-around after overflying the first airplane on the taxiway. The flight was operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 129 as an international scheduled passenger flight from Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, (YYZ), Toronto, Canada. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the incident.“

NTSB Prelim Report


© MercuryNews InfoAnimation
SFO WebTrak screencap of AC759:
Flightpath (provided by FlightAware)

© FlightAware

To opitmize arriving traffic flow and assure the required minimum spacing between arriving aircraft, San Francisco Air Traffic Control (ATC) utilizes the Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approach (SOIA) where aircraft heading for runway 28R must follow a course offset to the localizer to allow spacing requirements when both runways 28L and 28R are active simultaneously.

Air Canada 759 was flying the Flight Management System (FMS) Quiet Bridge Visual approach to runway 28R flying a converging angle of 275 degrees to close-in to the localizer (ILS) heading of 284 degrees only when on short final (roughly when overflying San Mateo Bridge).

© Globalair (PDF)

© FlySFO.com (PDF)

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Aircraft Involved

Type: Airbus A320
Registration: C-FKCK
Age a/c: 25.7 years
Constr. No.: 265

Occupants & Casualties

Crew Pax Other Total
Occupants 5 135 0 140
Fatalities 0 0 0 0
Injuries  0 0 0 0


Date: 2017-07-07 Time: 23:55
Location: KSFO SFO San Francisco Intl
Country: United States of America
Flight phase: APR – Initial Approach (IFR), Final Approach, all Circuit Patterns, Missed Approach/Go-Around
Damage to a/c: none

Flight no.: AC 759
From: CYYZ/YYZ: Toronto Lester B. Pearson Intl Airport To: KSFO/SFO: San Francisco Intl
Type: Passenger
Operator: Air Canada

JACDEC 30-year Statistics :

  • 72nd safety occurence for the operator
  • 599th safety occurence of type (A320)
  • 33rd safety occurence at San Francisco Airport
  • 2nd safety occurence for aircraft in question
    – 2014-01-20 wake turbulence event over Thunder Bay (Ref)

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AP = Airport / AL = Airlines / Avn = Aviation / AW = Airways / C/N: Construction Number / DSP = Domestic Scheduled Passenger / DNP = Domestic Non-Scheduled Passenger / DSC = Domestic Scheduled Cargo / DNC= Domestic Non-Scheduled Cargo / GND = On the ground / parked, stored / FMN= Flying Mission, Air Work / FRY = Ferry-, Positioning Flight / IMC = Intrument Meteorological (flying) Conditions / ISP = International Scheduled Passenger / ISC=International Scheduled Cargo / INP = International Non-Scheduled Passenger / INC =International Non-Scheduled Cargo/ OPS = Flight Operation(s) / NRV = Non-revenue, Private Flight / TRN =Training Flight /  TST = Test & Certification Flight / VMC = Visual Meteorological (flying) Conditions