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Etihad flight delayed 20hrs due wrong tow bar

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Etihad flight delayed 20hrs due wrong tow bar

Old 25th Jul 2016, 10:07
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Etihad flight delayed 20hrs due wrong tow bar

Eithad EY28 Edinburgh to Abu Dhabi was delayed yesterday by about almost 20 hours due to the inbound flight having the wrong tow-bar loaded in the hold.

Flight was substituted from an A330 to a A340-600 and due to no suitable equipment in EDI the tow bar was dutifully loaded to assist the turnaround. Unfortunately when it came to pushback time the push back team realised that they'd been sent the tow-bar for a A340-500 instead of a -600 which is not compatible.

Cue aircraft having to be disembarked, police called to gate due p*ssed-off pax when informed of an initial 15 hour delay and an A340-600 taking up 2 stands at a busy EDI airport for the whole day.

The 0840 Schedule flight eventually left around 0330 the following morning.

Definitely a DOH! moment.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 10:52
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Take pax and bags off then power back
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 11:06
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I seriously question the competence of a station manager(s) who was unable to beg, borrow or steal a suitable tow-bar from either LHR, FRA or AMS and have it loaded into the hold of the next commercial flight, should have had one in EDI within 2-3 hours (been there, done that).

Of course if there was no station manager and all handling supervision was outsourced, you get what you pay for.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 11:38
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Surely a 'hands-on' captain with initiative could suggest to the local handling agent the above ideas. Equally, assuming the final solution was organised via Ops at home base, they would also have the gumption to consider their other UK & EU bases. However, if they only had 1 tow bar each might the same problem then arise else-where? A bit like solitaire, you just move the hole.
What are the limitations on crab-claw towbarless tugs? I'd always had the idea they were very flexible. Surely EDI have those.
There was a case in 90's during a strike in FCO that, allegedly, a BA 767 was pushed back manually on the gear wheels & struts. I heard it was easier than expected. If true, they got out of there when others sat on their hands.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 13:04
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Definitely a DOH! moment
More of an AUH one I'd have thought...
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 13:34
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another option....
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 13:52
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I seriously question the competence of a station manager(s) who was unable to beg, borrow or steal a suitable tow-bar from either LHR, FRA or AMS and have it loaded into the hold of the next commercial flight, should have had one in EDI within 2-3 hours (been there, done that).
Absence of gumption, though duty hours may perhaps have been a factor.

Piss poor performance all round, I'd say.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 14:05
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You can't just source an A346 towbar at short notice, they're few and far between in the UK.

I believe the handling agent for EY at EDI only have one A346 towbar in the UK, which is located at MAN and consequently couldn't be shipped to EDI. Even if it was, the crew would have probably been out of hours by then anyway?

Also, options to get a tow bar into EDI from other international airports are very limited. You'll struggle to get a bar into any of the narrow bodied flights that fly into EDI!
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 14:09
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PS - i didn't even realise A345/A346 had separate tow bows? Where's the logic in that.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 14:30
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This might sound a little silly but, is there not a towbarless tractor around?
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 14:31
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Nobody has a suitable TBL at EDI I assume. Might be time to order one.
750XL- from memory I think the -300 and -500 need inch and a half jaws, -600 inch and three quarter. (Moving office at the moment so cant get hold of the manuals).
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 15:31
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Are you telling me that the pilots are all common type rated on these variants, BUT the tow-bars are not interchangeable. Astonishing. Which nationality of the Airbus consortium is in the firing line for that one. Equally the crab-claw tug designers; but then again, this variant of AB is quite recent. The numpty who loaded the wrong tower at base might be getting buried in the sand for a short while. (n.b. Remember when you are up to your neck in the sand/poo make sure it's feet first)
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 18:46
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How did they resolve the situation?
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 19:22
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How did they resolve the situation?
Presumably with the appropriate tow bar on the next day's flight.
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 22:57
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Not the worst thing the unmentionable airline has done to an A346 on the ground in fairness.....
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Old 25th Jul 2016, 23:03
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Are you telling me that the pilots are all common type rated on these variants, BUT the tow-bars are not interchangeable.
Probably because the shear pins are designed for certain aircraft weights. An A320 tow bar might have problems with an A380.

Other factors include length (fuselage overhang), wheel size...
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 03:21
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You can't just source an A346 towbar at short notice, they're few and far between in the UK.

A resourceful and well connected station manager can perform miracles. I recall at JFK we had a generator failure on startup. Our SM borrowed one together with a licensed mechanic to change it from another airline within 30 minutes, for three bottles of wine from the C galley plus a promise that the part will be returned on the next days' flight. Promise was kept, proper paperwork was completed on both ends by the time the flight was well airborne, everyone was happy. Oh, he even had the time to make a PA at the gate every 30 minutes to keep pax informed on progress. It was all managed with a 90 minute delay, and he earned roughly his annual salary that evening.
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 05:10
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@Andrasz. I guess it boils down to the company culture.

In my previous company thinking outside of the box was encouraged, or at least not frowned upon. A captain with a positive attitude and a resourceful station manager (or redcap/dispatcher/crew planner) could work miracles together. Sometimes a little creativity was required, but it worked well and was fun.

Where I work now, no one will stray an inch from the SOPs/routines for the fear of reprisals. The general thinking is "if it works, nobody will thank you. If something goes wrong, they will hang you".

I tried a few times to do things the old way, but it was always met with indifference, or even hostility.

Now, if there's a problem, I just seat back, relax and wait till whoever is responsible find a solution (usually not the optimum one, but the 'safest' for him)...
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 05:27
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Lesson learnt? Guess everyone is rushing out to get an A350 towbar in case one drops in
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Old 26th Jul 2016, 05:58
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time to bring in that front gear with the motor so the ac can just move itself.
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