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FAA Changes Night Landing Rules At KSFO

Move Follows Incident In Which An Air Canada Crew Lined Up To Land On An Active Taxiway

The FAA has issued new rules for night landings and tower staffing at San Francisco International Airport (KSFO) following an incident in which an Air Canada A320 nearly landed on a taxiway where four other airliners were lined up waiting to depart from the airport.

The Seattle Times reports that the new procedures will go into effect when a runway parallel to the incoming flight's designated runway is closed. That was the scenario on July 7 when the Air Canada incident occurred, and officials believe that it might have contributed to the confusion on the part of the crew.

Pilots will no longer be allowed to make visual approaches at night when an adjacent runway is shut down, according to the new rules. Pilots will be required to make an instrument approach to assure they line up on the correct runway.

Control tower staffing will also be beefed up during late-night periods when traffic is heavy. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said on Thursday that two controllers will be required in the tower during those times. Only one was reportedly working when the Air Canada incident took place.

According to information released by the NTSB, the Air Canada A320 flew down the taxiway nearly a quarter or a mile at altitudes as low as 59 feet before executing a go-around. The circled and landed safely on the second approach.

The pilots told investigators with the NTSB that the do not recall seeing the four airplanes sitting on the taxiway where they intended to land, but "something did not look right to them," according to the report.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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