SIA flight delayed after plane hits aerobridge at Changi

The front body near the nose of the Airbus 330-300 hit one of two aerobridges that were used for boarding on Tuesday.
The front body near the nose of the Airbus 330-300 hit one of two aerobridges that were used for boarding on Tuesday.PHOTO: ST READER

No injuries reported, but all 272 passengers and 12 crew members had to disembark

Passengers on a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday had to disembark just before take-off after the plane hit an aerobridge.

Flight SQ178, scheduled to depart at 9.45am, had just left the gate at Changi Airport and was being pushed away by a tow tug when the mishap occurred.

Confirming the incident, an SIA spokesman told The Straits Times that the front body near the nose of the Airbus 330-300 hit one of two aerobridges that were used for boarding. No injuries were reported.

An aerobridge is the covered link to the terminal that passengers use to board and disembark from the plane.

All 272 passengers and 12 crew members who were on board the aircraft eventually disembarked normally via the aerobridge that was not hit, the spokesman said. A replacement aircraft was arranged and the flight left Singapore about two hours later at about noon.

"Damage to the aircraft is being assessed and investigations will be carried out to determine how the incident occurred," the spokesman said.

ASSESSING DAMAGE, CAUSE

Damage to the aircraft is being assessed and investigations will be carried out to determine how the incident occurred.

A SINGAPORE AIRLINES SPOKESMAN

Changi Airport Group (CAG) spokesman Ivan Tan said: "Changi Airport's ground personnel provided assistance to the affected passengers. CAG will work with the relevant parties on the investigations."

There was slight damage to the aerobridge which has since been repaired, he said.

This is not the first time a plane has been damaged on the ground at Changi Airport.

In November last year, a tow tug caught fire as it was pulling an SIA Boeing 777-200 to a departure gate.

The aircraft was crossing the bridge above Airport Boulevard Road when the tow tug caught fire.

There were no passengers aboard the aircraft at the time but the fire damaged the plane, which had to be grounded for repairs.

Before that, in March last year, two large aircraft - a Scoot Boeing 787 and an Emirates Airbus 380 - were involved in a minor collision which delayed the journeys of more than 600 passengers. Nobody was injured after both planes hit each other wing to wing. The aircraft had to be grounded for repairs.

Ground accidents on the tarmac, including planes that hit aerobridges, are a concern for the International Air Transport Association (Iata) as flight numbers increase and airports become more crowded.

To reduce the number of such incidents, Iata, which represents global carriers, has, in the past few years, been encouraging the sharing of information for learning purposes.

Airports are also increasingly turning to automated tarmac vehicles to mitigate the risk of human fatigue causing accidents.

Iata estimates that such accidents cost the industry more than US$4 billion (S$5.5 billion) in damage annually.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2018, with the headline 'SIA flight delayed after plane hits aerobridge at Changi'. Print Edition | Subscribe