An incident occurred at Naxos airport on July 12, 2019, when a Sky Express ATR-42-500 rolled off the runway. The main gear stopped in a ditch and the aircraft suffered extensive damage.
Naxos Airport is a small airport with limited taxiways. As a result, when aircraft depart, they have to backtrack on the runway for departure.
A Sky Express ATR-42-500 bound for Athens prepared to depart from Naxos. According to the Aviation Herald, the aircraft rolled back to make available as much runway as possible for departure. However, the main gear slipped off the runway into a ditch with the tail on the ground. The fuselage settled at the end of the runway and the front wheel was still on the pavement. Here are some images of the aircraft in its final resting state:
— Breaking Aviation News (@breakingavnews) July 12, 2019
The airport was closed since the aircraft occupied the only runway at the airport. Fortunately, no injuries or fatalities were reported. All 46 passengers and three crewmembers safely disembarked the aircraft.
This incident does not represent a pattern of unsafe operations at Sky Express. The aircraft was conducting normal departure routines from the small airport. At small airports with limited taxiways, it is a routine procedure for aircraft to backtrack for departure from the runway. In this case, there seems to have been some misjudgment that led to this incident.
Who is Sky Express?
If you’ve never heard of Sky Express, you’ll be forgiven. They are a small regional airline based in Athens. The airline flies ATR aircraft to 32 destinations across Greece. Their primary mission is to connect smaller airports in Greece to Athens, where passengers can connect to further destinations.
They have seven ATR-42-500s and one ATR-42-320. Both of these aircraft seat up to 48 passengers. In addition, Sky Express also has three 70-seater ATR 72-500s.
As a small airline, Sky Express also has an interesting array of onboard offerings. Most of their flights are pretty short. If you are flying with them on flights longer than 30 minutes, you will receive complimentary coffee, juice, or other light refreshments.
On shorter flights, they will provide you with candies and a napkin. Children, however, will receive a painting set. Meanwhile, on their morning flights from Heraklion to Athens, passengers will receive complimentary newspapers.
The aircraft received substantial damages and will likely take some time in maintenance before returning to service. However, the good news is that there were no fatalities or major injuries. Simple Flying hopes to see this ATR flying again soon!
Have you flown with Sky Express before? Let us know in the comments!