Jetstar's Airbus A320 Suffers Engine Damage in Sydney Airport Collision
In a recent incident at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD), a Jetstar Airbus A320 faced an unfortunate collision with a utility vehicle, resulting in significant damage to its right engine. This event occurred early on Monday morning, highlighting potential safety concerns in ground operations.
The collision involved a Mitsubishi utility vehicle, operated by Certis, a security services provider under contract with the airport. As the Jetstar aircraft was being towed to the terminal, the vehicle, colloquially known as a 'ute', crashed into it. Although the aircraft was empty at the time, the collision caused moderate damage to both the vehicle and the aircraft's engine. The driver sustained minor injuries and was promptly treated at Prince of Wales Hospital.
This incident raises questions about ground safety protocols, particularly considering the history of the involved aircraft, VH-VGJ, which has been in service for 13 years. A spokesperson for Sydney Airport confirmed that the aircraft is currently grounded for maintenance checks. The aftermath of the collision led to the cancellation of at least six flights and delays in several others, estimating a financial impact of around A$500,000 ($327,000) for the carrier.
Interestingly, this is not the first ground incident for VH-VGJ. In 2017, it was involved in a near-miss at Newcastle Airport (NTL) due to a miscommunication between the flight crew and a dispatcher. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau's investigation of this prior incident emphasized the need for improved distraction management among flight crews.
The current situation has sparked a collaborative investigation between Certis and Sydney Airport authorities. Certis has expressed its commitment to the highest safety standards and is determined to prevent similar occurrences in the future. The focus is now on understanding the causes behind this collision and ensuring such incidents are avoided, emphasizing the critical nature of ground safety in aviation.