Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Grounded As Jet Bridge Strikes Engine In Taiwan

A Japan Airlines 787’s engine struck a jet bridge at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport yesterday, Sunday, October 6, 2019, grounding the aircraft. No-one was injured and a replacement aircraft was ferried to Taoyuan from Haneda to collect the 205 passengers. Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration is investigating the incident.

A JAL 787’s left-hand side engine struck a jet bridge in Taiwan yesterday. Photo: Valentin Hintikka via Flickr.

What occurred?

According to a report in Taiwan News, flight JL80 was readying for a 10:00 departure up to Narita (Tokyo) and was being towed into the departure gate when the aircraft’s left-hand side engine fairing struck and scraped against the underside of the jet bridge.

While yet to be confirmed, it seems the ground crew took the 787 past its designated stop point at the gate. The design of the 787 means there is not a lot of fuselage length between the engine and jet bridge. It seems to be a simple case of human error. The ground crew involved were breath tested and came back clean.

OOOPS! JAPAN AIRLINES Boeing 787-8 #Dreamliner (JA824J) took damage to its left engine casing when it came into contact…

Posted by Aeronews on Sunday, 6 October 2019

After inspection, the flight was unable to be operated. Aeronews has published photos on its Facebook page which appear to show the engine has collided with a corner of the front of the jet bridge. One photo, in particular, suggests it is more than a scrape. Rather, it looks to be a fairly decent gouge in the fairing.

A long history of planes bumping into jet bridges

Given the tight confines, many aircraft have to manoeuvre in at airports. Hitting jet bridges, while inconvenient and expensive for the airline, is not that uncommon.

A British Airways A380 was taxiing towards its gate after landing in Miami, Florida on January 2016 when one of its engines hit a jet bridge. At the time the plane was been guided by the ground crew.

Again, in 2016, the left-hand engine of an Air India Boeing 777-300ER aircraft struck the jet bridge at Mumbai upon arrival. Allegedly, the parking bay (and therefore the jet bridge) was incompatible with the 777-300ER and the aircraft was inadvertently towed into the bay

In 2018, at Changi, the front body (near the nose) of a Singapore Airlines A330-300 struck a jet bridge that was to be used for boarding passengers.

This year, a Kuwait Airways Boeing 777 bumped into a jet bridge in Nice, France.

Also this year, a United Airlines pushing back from Buffalo Niagara Airport hit the jet bridge. In all except for the United Airlines example, human error on the ground crew’s part seems to be the cause. In this last example, strong winds at Buffalo Niagara were blamed.

Unlike bird strikes or other incidents that can occur when the aircraft is airborne and traveling at speed, bumping into the jet bridge is the aeronautical equivalent of bumping into a fender when parallel parking – just a lot more expensive and complicated to fix.

Yesterday’s flight delayed by 8 hours

Passengers on JL802 yesterday were delayed for 8 hours awaiting a replacement aircraft to arrive. Local website udn.com advises passengers were held in the departures area and provided with meals by JAL. FlightAware has the flight departing Taoyuan at 18:09 last night for a 22:19 arrival into Narita.

The aircraft involved is still at Taoyuan awaiting replacement parts for the damaged engine.

Simple Flying has reached out to Japan Airlines for a comment regarding the incident yesterday at Taoyuan but has not received a response prior to publication.