Air France Boeing 777 Involved In Runway Incursion In Mexico City

Last month, a Boeing 777 belonging to Air France experienced a delayed departure from Mexico City after being involved in a runway incursion. The French flag carrier’s triple-seven crossed an active runway without clearance, causing another aircraft to abort its takeoff. Let take a look at how exactly the incident panned out.

Air France, Safety Video, French Landmarks
The flight eventually departed Mexico more than two hours late. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

The flight in question

Air France flight AF179 is a daily scheduled service from Mexico City Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX). According to data from RadarBox.com, its scheduled departure time is 19:40 local time. The flight’s destination is Air France’s main hub at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), where it is scheduled to touch down the following day at 13:45 local time.

The journey between the Mexican and French capital cities therefore has a scheduled duration of 11 hours and five minutes. In addition to the French flag carrier, Aeroméxico also has a presence on this transatlantic corridor. In terms of airfreight, Air France is represented by its cargo division, and Qatar Airways Cargo also flies this route.

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Air France 777
Air France operates its Mexico City-Paris service on a daily basis. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

What happened?

On April 12th, Air France flight AF179 from Mexico City to Paris had its departure delayed due to its involvement in a runway incursion. According to The Aviation Herald, this occurred during its pre-departure taxi. It was already an hour and a half behind schedule when, at 21:10 local time, it crossed MEX’s runway 05L via taxiway B6 without permission.

This uncleared crossing took place around 800 meters beyond the runway’s displaced threshold. The flight had not been cleared to cross the runway as it was occupied by a departing Aeroméxico Connect Embraer E190. Thankfully, this San Luis Potosí-bound flight was able to abort its departure, as it had only reached a speed of around 50 knots.

The Air France aircraft then left the active runway 150 meters beyond the displaced threshold via taxiway B4, and returned to the apron. Mexican officials rated this runway incursion as an incident, and opened an investigation into the matter.

AF179 Flightpath 12Apr2021
The flight ultimately landed in Paris just over an hour late the next afternoon. Image: RadarBox.com

Flight AF179 eventually departed Mexico City 48 minutes after the incursion, at 21:58 local time. This represented a total delay of two hours and 18 minutes, although the flight was able to claw back an hour of this delay en route. Touchdown in the French capital took place the following afternoon an hour and 18 minutes behind schedule, at 15:03 local time.

The aircraft involved

The aircraft that was the subject of the aforementioned runway incursion was a Boeing 777-300ER with the registration F-GZNC. According to Planespotters.net, this aircraft is 13 years old, and it has spent its entire career at Air France, having first arrived in May 2008.

Air France has a total of 43 777-300ERs in its fleet, of which 37 are currently active. These have four seating configurations at the French flag carrier, of which F-GZNC sports the least dense setup. According to SeatGuru, its interior features four La Première first class suites, 58 business class flatbeds, 28 premium economy recliners, and 206 standard economy seats.

What do you make of this incident? Have you ever flown with Air France to Mexico City? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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