MEA Airbus A330 Damages Turkish Airlines 777 In Ground Collision

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A Middle East Airlines (MEA) Airbus collided with a Turkish Airlines aircraft in Lagos yesterday afternoon. According to social media reports, the MEA’s winglet clipped the Turkish Airlines plane while being  pushed back by airport ground staff.

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An MEA Airbus A330-200 was involved in an incident in Lago earlier today. Photo: Middle East Airlines

MEA winglet clips Turkish Airlines Boeing

The MEA aircraft was identified as OD-MEA. It is an Airbus A330-200 that has flown for MEA for 11 years. The plane had operated ME571, the regularly scheduled flight from Beirut to Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. The incident occurred as the aircraft was beginning the return flight to Beirut.

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It appears the incident occurred while the MEA Airbus was getting pushed back from the gate. It is not clear how many people were aboard, but social media reports there were no injuries. The aircraft type can carry 244 passengers.

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Photos available on social media postings do not show the extent of damage to the MEA winglet. However, the images clearly show significant damage to the Turkish Airlines aircraft.

The registration of the Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER is unknown.

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MEA has a solid safety record

MEA is a small Beirut based airline that jets around its immediate region, but also as far afield as the United Kingdom, Denmark, and into western Africa. The airline has just 19 aircraft, including five Airbus A330-200s.

The airline is 75 years old, and these days has a sound safety record. In 2001, an MEA Airbus A321-200 sustained tail damage when landing in Cairo. According to reports, the plane, F-OHMP, was on an ILS approach to Cairo when the aircraft began to seesaw around the glide path, going above and below the designated glide path. It required the crew to make corrections manually. This caused a hard landing and a tail strike at touch down. The result was substantial damage, but there were no injuries.

This particular aircraft later achieved a degree of notoriety with another carrier. Airbus repaired the plane. It left MEA and began flying for Metrojet. Metrojet (formerly known as Kolavia) is a joint venture between TUI Russia and TUI Germany. The Airbus was re-registered as EI-ETJ.

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The tail section of the downed Metrojet Airbus that formerly flew for MEA. Photo: MAK via Wikimedia Commons

In October 2015, after departing Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt on a flight to St Petersburg, the plane disappeared from the radar over the Sinai Desert. There were 217 passengers and 7 crew on board. Local residents discovered the wreckage of aircraft, including its main wings and fuselage, near Wadi Al-Zolomat. The tail section of EI-ETJ was located 1.2 nautical miles away.

While the aircraft was not on MEA’s books at the time of the crash, the 2001 incident was a factor in investigations.

MEA birdstrike incident in 2019

In 2019, an MEA Airbus A320-200 was involved in a bird strike incident at Abu Dhabi. The aircraft was operating a scheduled flight across from Beirut and landing when the incident occurred. The plane landed safely without injuries to passengers or crew. It returned to service the following day and has flown without incident ever since.

Meanwhile, both the MEA Airbus and Turkish Airlines Boeing involved in yesterday’s collision at Lagos remain on the ground.

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