Russian carrier Transaero is gradually returning three aircraft to service after they were all damaged in ground-handling incidents within hours of one another at Moscow Domodedovo Airport.

Two Boeing 747 aircraft were struck by high-loading catering vehicles on 12 January – the first at 06:00 and the second at 21:00 – which damaged the outer skin of the fuselage. No passengers were on board either aircraft.

On the same day, says a spokesman for Transaero, an unsecured service ladder tipped over as the result of air disturbance from another taxiing aircraft, damaging the wing of a Transaero Boeing 737 which was parked on the ramp.

The first 747 incident resulted in a three-hour delay to a flight to Hurghada in Egypt while Transaero had to accommodate passengers after the second 747’s service to Phuket in Thailand suffered an overnight delay.

Transaero says the 737 incident did not lead to any significant change in the flight schedule. The spokesman adds: “Two of the three aircraft are already back in operation; the third one will be back tonight.”

Moscow Domodedovo Airport representatives are carrying out a joint inquiry with the airline into the ground-support incidents.

Transaero was the first Russian carrier to introduce 747 passenger operations. It has a fleet which includes a 747-400, 747-300 and six 747-200s as well as seven Boeing 767s, 13 737s and a Tupolev Tu-214.

Domodedovo Airport has become increasingly busy, posting a 21% increase in aircraft movements during 2007 and a 22% increase in passenger numbers to 18.8 million.

Source:'s sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news