SAA Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800 meet

SAA Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800 meet
Meeting goes wrong

An unexpected meeting between an SAA Airbus A320 and a Boeing 737-800 resulted in both aircraft suffering damage leaving SAA and FlySafair with one less aircraft in their fleet for the foreseeable future.

The ground-based incident happened at O R Tambo International Airport on the evening of 11 November. The Airbus was being towed near the FlySafair aircraft parked at Gate 2C when the tow bar of a tow truck broke, causing the plane to veer off and hit a parked FlySafair aircraft on the evening of 11 November.

The SAA plane’s wing tip and the FlySafair aircraft’s empennage (tail) section were damaged.

In a statement released on Saturday, SAA said the ZS-SZJ was out of operation, while the damage was assessed. Both the South African Civil Aviation Authority and the European Aviation Safety Agency have been notified.

The airline said that as a result of the incident, flight SA357/372 from Johannesburg to Cape Town had been cancelled and passengers had been accommodated on SA359/374.

“This is truly an unfortunate development as this takes out the seat capacity of two aircraft, an SAA A320 and a FlySafair B737, out of the market at a time when our passengers are experiencing higher ticket prices due to limited aircraft availability on our domestic market,” said SAA executive chairperson and CEO John Lamola

“The aircraft was parked and not in commission when the aft (rear) section was struck by the wingtip of an SAA Airbus A320, which was being towed into the parking bay alongside,” the airline said.

Technical teams and insurers are investigating the full extent of the damage to the FlySafair aircraft, which will remain out of operation until such time as it fully repaired and signed out. A backup aircraft has been deployed to ensure all flights depart on time.