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The US Federal Aviation Authority is investigating why a passenger jet made a potentially disastrous landing approach towards a taxiway containing four other planes at San Francisco International Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating an incident that could have resulted in "the greatest aviation disaster in history", according to one expert.

Instead, he's heading for Taxiway C, which lies parallel directly next to it, and on which four passenger planes were waiting to get into position for takeoff.

Details are emerging about an apparent near-miss at San Francisco International Airport on Friday, in which a flight arriving from Toronto reportedly mistook a taxiway for a runway.

Another controller alerts the tower to the Air Canada aircraft's trajectory and the pilot was immediately instructed to pull up, circle around and approach the landing again.

The FAA is investigating the distance between the Air Canada aircraft and the jets that were lined up on Taxiway C.

In an audio recording of the conversations between air traffic control and pilots available from Live ATC, the Air Canada pilot tells air traffic control he sees other lights on the runway before being told there are no other planes on 28R.

Listen to the Moment a Jet Avoided 'Greatest Aviation Disaster'

"If it is true, what happened probably came close to the greatest aviation disaster in history", retired United Airlines Capt Ross Aimer, CEO of Aero Consulting Experts, told the Mercury News.

"If you can imagine an Airbus colliding with four aircraft full of fuel and passengers, you can imagine how this would have been horrifying", he added.

"There's no one on 28R but you", said the air controller. He said he's been contacted by pilots from across the country about the incident.

This, the world's deadliest mid-air collision, occurred when the pilot of Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907 flew lower than he had clearance for.

The Air Canada flight from Toronto was supposed to land on Runway 28R but nearly landed on the adjacent taxiway.

'Yeah, I saw that guys, ' replies the tower. "We are still investigating the circumstances and therefore have no additional information to offer".