An expensive mistake to make, if it was one… British and Social Media are full of images of a British Airways B787-Dreamliner kissing the tarmac at London-Heathrow this morning (18JUN21). Thankfully no one was injured during the incident.
The British Airways Dreamliner 787, registration G-ZBJB, was being deployed as a cargo-only passenger flight. It had landed from Moscow, Russia, late on 16JUN21, and was in the process of being
loaded for a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, when its front landing gear collapsed. Being a freighter operation, this meant that no passengers were on board at the time. However, according to a
source speaking to MailOnline, some of the flight crew had been on board. Thankfully though, there were no injuries reported.
It could have been a lot worse
Which is a miracle, given the number of what-ifs that could have occurred. If crew, ground-handling, or push-back staff had been near or under the nose at the time, things could have been a lot worse.
The airport’s emergency fire services and police were quick to arrive at the scene. Other flight operations were not affected by the incident.
A spokesman for British Airways stated: “A freighter aircraft has been damaged while stationary on stand. As a freighter-only aircraft there were no passengers on board. Safety is always our highest priority and we are investigating the matter.” The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has already been dispatched to launch an investigation into the incident at Heathrow Airport. Engineers will be looking into what caused the collapse – whether it was a maintenance or a loading issue, of a combination. “The extent of the damage is currently unknown, further details will be reported once available.” The B787 in question is one of 30 the airline has in its fleet and was the first of its kind to be delivered to British Airways on 26JUN13.
Over on social media, users were quick to analyze the possible causes. @stickybloke stated “Maintenance. Nose locking pin incorrectly or not fitted. I would suspect the former. It has happened before…” – a cause that was echoed “No pin?” elsewhere in @MZulqarnainBut1’s Twitter feed, though @pascCFC’s deduction was “Doesn’t need a pin as it’s on stand. The no long nose pin would make it collapse when under tow. My guess is that it has collapsed because it’s lost hydraulic pressure.” Looking at the various videos and the loader at the front cargo hold door, the question could also be whether incorrect heavy loading to the front first could have triggered the problem. The aircraft itself has been up and flying throughout the pandemic, as part of an ever-increasing service offer of cargo-only flights that the IAG Group has been operating. (In the first quarter of 2021, it operated a record 1,306 cargo-only flights generating €350 million in revenue, up from 969 flights in the fourth quarter of 2020.)
Whatever the reason, concerns were issued among ground staff (according to MailOnline), that it could be a general safety issue with the aircraft, that that this may lead to “other 787s being grounded while inspections are carried out”. Looking at the images, it would appear that only the front landing gear and the undercarriage of the aircraft were damaged. What will happen to the aircraft at a time where so many are still grounded, and airlines are fighting huge losses, is not yet known. IAG Group reported a €1.14 billion ($1.38bn) loss for the first quarter of 2021 the year. Cargo is bringing positive results, but the airlines are still suffering hugely from the lack and uncertainty of passenger operations thanks to the Covid-19 crisis.
We always welcome your comments to our articles. However, we can only publish them when the sender name is authentic.