When most people think of what constitutes a commercial aviation accident, most people are likely to think of a plane crash after something goes wrong in the air. However, the potential for accidents certainly exists on the ground as well -- at the airport, either before or after a plane is scheduled to take off or land. With some airports seeing record numbers of traffic via planes from all over the world, some kind of incident on the ground would seem very possible.
At JFK Airport in New York this past weekend, a Boeing 777 operated by Air India clipped a JetBlue A320 while both planes were on the tarmac. Fortunately nobody was injured in the incident, but it was the second time in less than two years that a commercial plane clipped another at the same airport. The previous incident took place in April 2011.
In this past weekend's incident, the JetBlue plane had stopped on the tarmac after the tow bar that was pushing it back from its gate broke. While the plane waited for a new one, the Air India jet -- which had just landed -- clipped it as the Boeing 777 taxied to its gate.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board have proposed that wingtip cameras be installed on commercial planes to act as ground-control prevention devices. While such an innovation could potentially save lives -- and prevent expensive plane repairs -- response from the industry has reportedly been tepid so far. Hopefully it will not take a fatal collision to spur the necessary parties into action.
Source: USA Today, "Air India widebody jet clips JetBlue plane at JFK," Ben Mutzabaugh, March 11, 2013