Take care when reversing your A330

It is following a recent bitter experience that UK leisure carrier Thomas Cook is rolling out an education campaign to reduce accidental damage to aircraft when they are on the ground.

Ground accidents to aircraft are nothing new, and ramp safety has long been an issue addressed by industry bodies like IATA and ACI. But a few months ago Thomas Cook was 」500,000 ($925,000) the worse off when contract engineering staff reversing an Airbus A330 at the UK‘s Manchester Airport accidentally hit an aircraft hangar.

“The rudder was damaged, putting the aircraft out of action,” says the airline. “A sub-charter was eventually located, but only after 333 passengers had been delayed for 30 hours.”

This incident has prompted the airline’s ground handling and maintenance departments to produce a poster showing the costs of different accidental damage to, in this case, a Boeing 757-200. For example, this could be 」266,655 for rudder damage or 」100,000 for a nose cowl. An additional cost would be that of three flights operated by another carrier: a cool 」180,000.

The posters are being displayed in the staff rooms of all Thomas Cook’s ground handling suppliers who drive on airfields in the UK and overseas.

The actual costs of repairing damage, chartering an alternative aircraft and putting people up in a hotel and feeding them clearly soon escalates in the thousands of pounds, euros or dollars. But as Thomas Cook ruefully notes: “Damage to Thomas Cook reputation – priceless.”

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