x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Safety recommendations set out to avoid repeat of ground collision at Abu Dhabi airport

General Civil Aviation Authority publishes report setting 10 recommendations to avoid a repeat of collision between two planes on the ground in a May 6, 2012 incident at Abu Dhabi airport.

Safety recommendations have now been issued to Etihad Airways, Etihad Airport Services and the Abu Dhabi Airports Company.  Andrew Parsons / The National
Safety recommendations have now been issued to Etihad Airways, Etihad Airport Services and the Abu Dhabi Airports Company. Andrew Parsons / The National

ABU DHABI // Accident investigators have made 10 safety recommendations after a collision between two aircraft.

An Airbus A330 was pushing back when it clipped the wing tip of a parked Boeing 777 at Abu Dhabi International Airport on May 6 last year.

Safety recommendations have now been issued to Etihad Airways, Etihad Airport Services and the Abu Dhabi Airports Company.

The collision, at the airport’s terminal one at parking bays 121 and 122, caused significant damage to both planes’ wings and delayed both flights.

The Brussels-bound A330 was carrying 249 passengers and 11 crew at the time but no injuries were reported. The 777 was destined for Kuala Lumpur.

The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) published a report this month with a number of recommendations to help prevent a repeat of the collision.

The incident occurred as the vehicle designed to manoeuvre the aircraft pushed it too close to the neighbouring plane.

It was proposed that “lead-in lights or reflectors” be installed at the stand to provide better lighting for ground staff responsible for manoeuvring the plane.

The companies were also told to tighten up their standard operating procedures for pushbacks and to perform risk assessments.

The report is also critical of the length of time taken to report the incident to investigators.

It took staff about 10 hours to inform the GCAA amid confusion over who was responsible for reporting such events.

Abu Dhabi Airports Company and Abu Dhabi Airports Services were told that procedures should be put in place to inform the GCAA duty investigator as soon as an event occurred.

It was found that all ground staff and airline crew held the appropriate certificates and were fit to perform their duties on the day.

Despite the failings, the report makes clear “the sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents. It shall not be the purpose of such an investigation to apportion blame or liability”.

ksinclair@thenational.ae