FlySafair aircraft struck by wingtip of SAA Airbus at OR Tambo International Airport, Ekurhuleni
Two aircraft, an SAA Airbus A320 (ZS-SZJ) and FlySafair aircraft (ZS-SJH), are out of operation after a tow bar of a tow truck broke and caused the SAA aircraft to veer off and hit a parked FlySafair aircraft. The SAA Airbus A320 (ZS-SZJ) was being towed from the OR Tambo International Airport ramp to the maintenance facility when it hit the parked FlySafair aircraft (ZS-SJH) on Friday evening, 11 November 2022. The SAA aircraft’s wing tip and the Safair aircraft's empennage (tail) section were damaged. No passengers were on board either aircraft at the time.
In a statement released on Saturday, SAA said the ZS-SZJ was out of operation, while the damage was assessed. Both the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have been notified.
The airline said, as a result of the incident, flight SA357/372 from Johannesburg to Cape Town had been cancelled and passengers had been accommodated on SA359/374. It added that SA323/334 had been upgraded to operate A333 and that the new estimated departure time for SA334 was 13h05, due to rotation.
"This is truly an unfortunate development as this takes out the seat capacity of two aircraft, an SAA A320 and a FlySafair B737, out of the market at a time when our passengers are experiencing higher ticket prices due to limited aircraft availability on our domestic market," said SAA executive chairperson and CEO John Lamola
Earlier on Saturday, media reported that a FlySafair aircraft was involved in a ground-based incident after being struck by an SAA Airbus at OR Tambo International Airport on Friday evening.
According to FlySafair, the Boeing 737-800 was parked at gate C2. "The aircraft was parked and not in commission when the aft (rear) section was struck by the wingtip of an SAA Airbus A320, which was being towed into the parking bay alongside," the airline said.
The full extent of the damage to the FlySafair aircraft is still under investigation by technical teams and insurers. The aircraft is set to remain out of operation until it is fully repaired and signed out.
The airline said it had advised all relevant authorities of the incident. "At this stage, the airline does not foresee any interruption to scheduled operations. A backup aircraft has been deployed to ensure all flights depart on time."
Airports Company South Africa General Manager Jabu Khambule said the incident occurred when a aircraft that was being towed, disengaged from the tow bar and struck another parked aircraft. "The incident was reported to the relevant authorities and investigations are in progress. No passenger or member of staff was injured in the incident," added Khambule.
Source: News 24