View Full Version : Ryanair vs 3 fuel trucks, MLA

3rd Apr 2021, 04:37

Ryanair Boeing 737-800 collided with three fuel trucks on the apron of Malta International Airport (MLA), on April 2, 2021.The aircraft, registered 9H-QCJ, was being towed when a towbar snapped. The plane continued its course until it hit three fuel trucks that were parked on the apron, causing fuel to leak. No passengers were on board at the time of the collision and no injuries were reported.

The airport firefighting team was sent to the scene, along with the Maltese Bureau of Air Accident Investigation.

The incident forced the airport to close operations for less than an hour. “LH1276 operated by Lufthansa (LHAB (https://www.aerotime.aero/financial-market-chart?tvwidgetsymbol=SWB:LHAB)) (LHA (https://www.aerotime.aero/financial-market-chart?tvwidgetsymbol=FWB:LHA)) from Frankfurt and UG1300 operated by Tunisair from Tunis-Carthage were diverted to Catania and Tunis respectively,” the airport said in a statement.

737 and fuel truck nuzzling

3rd Apr 2021, 08:38
This is what happens when you save the cost of having a licensed mechanic sit in the cockpit while towing...

Less Hair
3rd Apr 2021, 09:08
Aircraft need some emergency ground brake button plus maybe even some "block mode" that can be operated from the outside. Say next to the nose gear. Entire multi engine bombers can be started and run up from the outside but simple braking is not possible?

3rd Apr 2021, 09:23
In 25 years I have been the ‘safety man’ and sat in the cockpit of three Aircraft watching tugs disappearing into the distance – one only returned after I made a call to ATC on the ground frequency. No doubt Airlines do a cost / effective risk assessment and think the risks negligible. Three fuel trucks this time. Let’s hope no-one gets squished next time.

3rd Apr 2021, 09:55
Brake man on their phone or fast asleep?
Or no brake pressure?

3rd Apr 2021, 10:52
NO brake man seems to be the assertion here! Hard to believe in my book...

3rd Apr 2021, 11:11

Who told you there was no engineer on board?

3rd Apr 2021, 13:31
One of the many arguments for the use of towbarless tractors.

3rd Apr 2021, 15:09
An engineer on the flight deck would surely have established hydraulic pressure prior to towing in case something like this happened, otherwise there is little point in having him there in the first place.

Krystal n chips
3rd Apr 2021, 17:33

True, but unfortunately, thereafter all you have to do now is the hard part. Convince an accountant as to the benefits to warrant the expenditure. The first response will be to ask for the number of conventional tow bar failures over "x " period of time and any resulting damage costs.

3rd Apr 2021, 20:28

Educated guess :)

3rd Apr 2021, 22:02
I'm finding that explanation a little hard to believe.

3rd Apr 2021, 22:57
K n C

In British Airways the bought many towbarless tugs and BA knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. The only downside was the unions still insisted on two operators to carry out aircraft movement by tug when the job can be done safely with just one.

Statement of fact not an opinion on the merits of two crew or otherwise.

4th Apr 2021, 07:26
M.M / KnC

You could be right easily at the same time, no denying RYR can do their numbers well too. A big enabler for towbarless is the flexibility no need to drag all the different types of towbars around the place. Inevitably the proper one is never close enough. + Inventory keeping, misplaced or stolen ones..

4th Apr 2021, 09:17
More like very bad,or lack of, supervision of the task of towing, spatial awareness etc.

4th Apr 2021, 15:07

That was not a "guess", you stated as if it was a conclusion of an investigatio, hopefully soon the report will be out.

Gauges and Dials
7th Apr 2021, 05:31
Krystal n chips

Why is that unfortunate? It seems that using actual data to assess the size of the risk is precisely the sort of fact-based decision making that is at the heart of sound engineering practice.

7th Apr 2021, 14:58
Was that a Boeing quote?

Smooth Airperator
7th Apr 2021, 16:42
Data might be used to assess the size of the risk but I'd like to see the formula that pens "Cost saving due to one less mechanic" vs. "Lost revenue due to AOG/insurance premium rise". Bean counters... the price of everything but the value of nothing.

8th Apr 2021, 12:42
Actuaries are employed to make exactly these sorts of calculations, and they are inevitable. One can draw a parallel with Public Health decisions where the constraints on resources require giving a value to lifespan and a likelihood to the shortening thereof.

Perfect 'safety' will never be achieved. There will always, ALWAYS be a trade off with cost and cost is never irrelevant.

Max Angle
8th Apr 2021, 17:33
The only downside was the unions still insisted on two operators to carry out aircraft movement by tug when the job can be done safely with just one.
Not only that, the two operators take twice as long to do the job as one at any other airport.

9th Apr 2021, 10:04
Yeah, but that's obviously because they are being much more careful and much safer which will be more cost effective in the long run because they won't be crashing aircraft.

Well, in theory they won't...

10th Apr 2021, 18:15
Moved three planes at work today, in total it took nearly two hours and minimum four people, 1 tug driver, 1 headset man, 1 brake rider and a spot man. That is just stand to stand, hangar or some other moves need wing/tail spotters, elf and go safely seem to have it over bean counters.

11th Apr 2021, 02:33
Tangent: For pilotless ramp positioning, do you guys need to start the APU (737/A320)? What are the guidelines for moving one with APU u/s?

12th Apr 2021, 16:34
We (the ground handler) cannot move a plane without starting the APU, if it is inop we have to call the engineers and they come out and work their magic, to be honest i think that as long as there is enough pressure in the accumulator (3000psi) they can monitor that and watch for the tug disappearing into the distance, but the insurers will not let us do that. I believe airport ops insist that an aircraft that has no power (APU inop) must have an airfield ranger escort tho what they are going to do if things go the shape of a pear is unknown