On Sunday, a KLM 747 awaiting its final retirement at Amsterdam Schiphol airport had its nose dented by an Airbus A330 wing. The union says that towing incidents like these are because of too high a workload for airport ground staff.
A330 wing hit the nose of the jumbo jet
KLM’s passenger 747s are officially retired. However, three remain parked at Schiphol East, awaiting relocation to their, most likely, final destination. One has even managed to get into a bit of a kerfuffle with an Airbus A330. On Sunday, as the A330 was being towed, its wing hit the jumbo jet’s nose, causing a dent in the fuselage.
— The Mic High Club Luchtvaart Podcast (@MicHighClub) November 16, 2020
It is unclear whether or not there was any damage to the A330 wing. The aircraft in question was PH-AOM, a ten-year-old A330-200 that goes by the name of Piazza San Marco – Venezia. It is currently listed as parked, along with another three of the carrier’s eight of the model. KLM’s five A330-300s are all shown as up and flying.
Union says incidents are due to an excessive workload
According to NH Nieuws, accidents with aircraft towers are quite common at Schiphol Airport. The Dutch Trade Union Confederation (FNV) says that the workload is too high and that there are not enough staff to carry out the work safely.
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In July this year, we reported how a 787 Dreamliner from TUI was damaged as the plane was pulled too far. The left engine’s nacelle collided with the airbridge of the gate to which it was being towed. The plane was about to take off on its first flight to Curaçao after four months of storage. Instead, it was straight back to maintenance.
Simultaneous pushback collision
In July last year, two planes full of passengers collided at Schiphol while reversing from their departure gates. An easyJet Airbus A320 heading for London, and a KLM Boeing 737-800 bound for Madrid were being pushed back in the early morning when they basically ran into each other. Both aircraft were replaced, and according to the Guardian, at least KLM passengers were on their way 2.5 hours later.
Right after the collision, an air traffic controller said that they thought one of the aircraft was parked somewhere else, or they would not have given simultaneous pushback clearance.
— Michael O Leary Parody (@FakeMikeOLeary) July 9, 2019
In February 2019, one of the airline’s 747s, PH-BFV, was also involved in a pushback incident. The aircraft was being pushed away from its gate while a Boeing 787, also operated by KLM, was taxiing past. That time, the jumbo jet’s winglet made contact with the 787’s rear stabilizer, which resulted in substantial damage to both.
Have you been on an aircraft involved in a pushback incident? Who do you think bears the responsibility, air traffic control or the driver? Let us know in the comments.