File Photo of a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330-343 (G-VSXY). Image Courtesy of Mark Harkin via Flickr.
Last night, two planes were involved in a ground collision at New York's JFK airport, leading to the cancellation of both flights that these aircraft were operating. MS 986, an EgyptAir Boeing 777-300ER preparing to head back to Cairo, and VS 4, a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330-343 bound for London-Heathrow were preparing for takeoff when the Virgin Atlantic aircraft's winglet clipped the EgyptAir 777's wing. Live radar tracking feeds from FlightRadar24 indicate that both aircraft were at the south end of the airport, near runway 04L, an active departure runway. Initially, ThePointsGuy.com reported that the Virgin Atlantic flight had experienced a mechanical issue, and was instructed to pull over from the taxiway in order to allow other planes to pass. However, it's likely that the wing of the Virgin Airbus remained too close to the active taxiway, which is where the collision occurred. Virgin Atlantic passengers Kevin O'Hara and Diana S. Fleischman both tweeted pictures of the Airbus A330's wing with the winglet missing - apparently it was collected by ground crews and loaded into a pickup truck, according to O'Hara.
Image Courtesy of JACDEC via Twitter.
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson has confirmed the following:
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.
FlightRadar24 data indicates that the EgyptAir 777 was SU-GDL, delivered in February 2010 (7.8 years old at the time of the crash). The Virgin Atlantic A330 was G-VRAY, built in March 2012 (5.7 years old at the time of the crash). Fortunately, no injuries were reported, and it appears that these aircraft are grounded at the moment, likely receiving thorough inspections and repairs.