Southwest Airlines Boeing 737s Damaged After Collision In Chicago

Two Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft made contact with each other at Chicago Midway International Airport yesterday afternoon. As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the collision.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700
The pair of Southwest Airlines Boeing 737s have been taken out of service due to the events of Friday 21st May. Photo: Getty Images

Ground contact

A 737 performing Flight 654 was getting ready to head out to Birmingham, Alabama, on Taxiway Y, with 144 passengers on board. However, at approximately 12:40, its wingtip had struck the horizontal stabilizer on the tail of one of its siblings, which was conducting Flight 751.

According to the Chicago Tribune, FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro shared that the aircraft performing Flight 751 had just arrived from Washington DC. 79 passengers were on board this plane.

There are no reports of any injuries to any passengers on the two jets. Nonetheless, the FAA is currently investigating what happened.

Chicago Midway is one of Southwest’s most important airports. It is the airline’s second-leading airport by nonstop destinations with 78, behind Denver at 85 destinations.

Southwest Airlines 737-800
Chicago Midway is a focus airport for Southwest Airlines. Photo: Getty Images.

The aircraft involved

Both narrowbodies were sent for inspections due to the contact. As far as we can see from photos shared on social media, a portion of a wing had been taken off.

Registration N8686A was performing the flight due to go to Birmingham. According to fleet data at ch-aviation, this 737-800 arrived at Southwest’s facilities in May 2016 fresh from Boeing. Meanwhile, registration N289CT was the plane arriving in from Washington Dulles. This 737-700 has been with the Texan operator since August 2007, also joining straight from the manufacturer.

Southwest 737
Southwest Airlines holds over 700 Boeing 737 aircraft, making it the only type in the fleet. Photo: Getty Images.

A word from Southwest

Simple Flying reached out to Southwest for comment on the collision. A spokesperson for the airline shared the passengers heading to Birmingham were accommodated swiftly, and they were able to be transferred with their baggage on another plane to get to their destination.

“At approximately 12:40pm CDT on Friday, May 21, the aircraft operating Southwest Flight 654 preparing to depart Chicago Midway to Birmingham was pushing back from a gate when its wingtip contacted the horizontal stabilizer of another Southwest aircraft sitting stationary at a neighboring gate. All passengers were deplaned and there are no reported injuries onboard either flight.” Southwest Airlines via statement.

Southwest added that the safety of its employees and passengers is its greatest priority. Subsequently, the company apologizes for any inconvenience.

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Altogether, thankfully, there are no injuries, and the damage to the aircraft appears to be minimal. Collisions on the ground have been tragic in the past. However, smaller instances are not so rare, such as when a SriLankan A320neo’s horizontal stabilizer was damaged in a ground vehicle collision last month. Regardless, Southwest will undoubtedly be keen to address the situation to prevent further events such as what happened in Chicago from happening.

What are your thoughts about this Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft collision? Were you on board any of these flights when the incident happened? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.