EgyptAir 777 Strikes Virgin Atlantic A330 Wingtip at JFK

Nov 28, 2017

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Just when we thought that we had survived the holiday rush, a collision between two planes at New York’s JFK caused a traffic pileup Monday night. Two widebody planes, an EgyptAir 777 and a Virgin Atlantic A330, were taxiing for takeoff on JFK’s 12,079-foot runway 4L when their wings clipped each other, an incident that led to the cancellation of both flights and the grounding of both aircraft.

The EgyptAir aircraft involved in the collision is a 7-year old Boeing 777-300ER, registration SU-GDL, which was operating as flight 986 from JFK to Cairo (CAI). The Virgin Atlantic aircraft is a 5-year old Airbus A330-300, registration G-VRAY, operating as flight 4 from JFK to London’s Heathrow (LHR). As of Tuesday morning, both aircraft are still grounded at JFK.

Reports indicate that Virgin Atlantic flight VS4 declared a mechanical issue and was instructed to pull over to the side to allow other flights to take off. However, there wasn’t enough clearance for EgyptAir flight MS986 to pass and the 777’s wing struck the Virgin Atlantic aircraft’s wingtip:

Image source: JACDEC via Twitter.
Image source: JACDEC via Twitter.

The impact sliced the Virgin Atlantic’s wingtip completely off. It was collected by ground crew shortly later:

Besides the damage to the planes, no injuries were reported.

In a statement to the UK’s Evening Standard, a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson would only confirm that the collision happened:

Our VS4 flight from New York to London Heathrow sustained damage to the wingtip whilst taxing to the runway at JFK airport yesterday (27 November). 

Safety is always our priority, and all passengers and crew disembarked the aircraft as normal. We’re arranging alternate travel for affected customers to enable them to continue their journeys as soon as possible, and we would like to thank them for their understanding during the delay.

This is the second collision between two aircraft on the ground at JFK this year. In August, a Delta 737 hit an American Airlines 757, also with no injuries but significant damage.

Featured image by Diana S. Fleischman

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