Ryanair Boeing 737 Suffers Lower Belly Damage After Tug Incident

A Ryanair Boeing 737 suffered major damage to its lower belly after a tug wedged into the aircraft at the maintenance bay. The incident left a hole in the fuselage and will mean the plane is grounded for a while. No injuries have been reported. Let’s find out more about the incident.

Ryanair Boeing 737-800
Ryanair’s 737 was parked at the maintenance apron at night when the incident occurred. Photo: Getty Images


According to JACDEC, a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 suffered damage to the lower fuselage after a nighttime incident involving a tug. While details are currently unclear, we know that the 737 was parked at a maintenance bay at London Stansted Airport and was preparing to make its way to another stand last Wednesday or Thursday.

However, things did not go to plan during the towing. The tug vehicle found itself wedged below the aircraft under the first door on the right side, possibly while turning. The crash occurred with some force, leaving the lower belly of the aircraft with considerable damage. Images of the incident can be seen below.

After the tug was removed from the fuselage the following day, requiring the use of a crane, engineers came to assess the damage. The tug left a large hole in the lower belly, removing the metal body and revealing the insides of the plane. This means the aircraft will be grounded for at least a few weeks as repairs and an investigation are completed. No injuries have been reported as of now.

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While thousands of flights daily use tugs to push back from their stands, there is a risk that things go wrong. Tugs have to be powerful vehicles to push and guide 100,000+ pound aircraft, costing over $100 a minute to use. However, all this power can mean that the plane itself can be damaged if it comes into contact.

Ryanair’s 737 is an extreme example of what can happen, but other incidents have occurred too. Last October, a Virgin Atlantic A350 found itself unable to move because the bar connecting the tug found itself under the nose wheel, damaging the right wheel.

Boeing 737, Classic Boeing 737, Boeing 737 Classic
Airport tugs may look small but pack quite a punch in terms of power and efficiency. Photo: Getty Images

Ryanair’s fleet

For now, Ryanair will be down one 737 for some time. However, not to worry, the carrier has another few hundred as replacements! Across the group, Ryanair flies a stunning 440 Boing 737s, consisting of 415 -800s, 24 MAX 8s, and one -700, according to Planespotters.net. However, this figure is only set to increase every year.

Ryanair 737-800
Ryanair has the biggest fleet of any European carrier and planes to remain at that spot for years to come. Photo: Getty Images

In total, Ryanair plans to take on 210 737 MAXs under the current order. These planes come with a stunning 197 seats, allowing the airline to reach a new level of efficiency. The future could see more order for the MAX 8 and the larger MAX 10, boosting capacity significantly on all of its routes. Expect to see many more 737s carrying Ryanair and its subsidiary’s liveries in the future.