Spirit Airlines A320neo Slips Off Taxiway Following Winter Storm

A Spirit Airlines Airbus A320neo skidded off a taxiway at Baltimore/Washington International Airport this morning. The aircraft was arriving from an overnight flight when the incident occurred at around 06:18 local time.

Spirit Airlines, Slid Off Taxiway, Baltimore
A Spirit Airlines A320neo slid off the taxiway at Baltimore/Washington International Airport this morning. Photo: Airbus

Wintery weather can cause a real headache for airports and airlines alike. Airports will often dispatch snow plows to ensure that taxiways are kept clear of ice and snow. However, despite everybody’s best attempts to ensure that operations can go ahead in adverse weather, sometimes things just don’t go as everybody had hoped. This was the case today when a Spirit Airlines A320neo came off of the taxiway this morning.

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What happened?

Spirit Airlines flight NK696 departed Las Vegas at 23:14 last night. The flight touched down slightly ahead of schedule at 06:16 with 111 people onboard. Upon arrival, the flight was given taxi instructions, which it began to follow. However, on the aircraft’s second turn after leaving the runway, the A320neo slid off the taxiway and entered the soft ground at the side.

Spirit Airlines, Slid Off Taxiway, Baltimore
The aircraft came off the taxiway shortly after landing. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

Talking to air traffic control after the incident, the pilot said, “We’re hoping to get towed out of here. We’re not deploying any chutes or doing any sort of evacuation.”

He went on to describe leaving the taxiway as a ‘smooth departure.’ Thankfully nobody was hurt in the incident due to its apparently gentle nature. Unfortunately, the pilot’s hopes of being towed out were quickly shattered by the attending rescue vehicle, who said, “By looking at your nose gear, I’m not sure it’s going to be that simple for us pulling you out.”

Photos of the incident show the aircraft was accessed by a set of stairs on the rear right exit, with the baggage hold also being emptied.

Commenting on the incident, a Spirit Airlines spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“After safely landing and entering the taxiway this morning, the nose wheel of Spirit Airlines flight 696 slowly slid onto the grass while turning a corner and taxiing to the gate. All 111 Guests and Team Members are safe and were transported by bus to the terminal.”

What now?

While the aircraft is now stuck blocking taxiway Foxtrot where it intersects with Taxiway Golf, there are other ways to taxi to and from the adjacent runway. According to data from FlightRadar24.com, at the time of writing, the aircraft remains at the position where it got stuck off the runway. The airport is operational, with aircraft currently using Runway 33L.

The airport and the airline will now work together to remove the aircraft back onto the taxiway and to assess any damage that may have been caused. Earlier this year, a British Airways 787 got stuck in the mud in Edmonton, although that incident appeared to be a pushback error instead.

What do you make of the Spirit Airlines incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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