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Sun, Jul 11, 2004

BWIA Airbus 340 + ServisAir Tow Truck = $1.2m Tab

...and it's the third time this month at Piarco Int'l in Trinidad/Tobago!

A BWIA's Airbus A340 aircraft was damaged by a ServisAir tow truck this week, and the repair cost is estimated to be some $1.2 million. On top of that, the aircraft will not be able to produce any revenue for at least 30 days.

The Trinidad Tobago Express reports that this is the second time a ServisAir truck has crashed into a BWIA aircraft at Piarco International Airport. In fact, this is the third such incident involving trucks and airplanes in a month.  Because of the repairs that must be made to the aircraft, it is expected that pax will be affected. The summer peak travel period is underway, and BWIA is going to have to look for other aircraft to cover the schedule disruption.

On July 6, BWIA's 9Y-TJN aircraft was scheduled to fly the BW900 flight from Trinidad/Tobago to London, when it was struck by a tow truck that had several baggage cars attached to it. The truck was driven under the aircraft as it was prepared for the flight, and did not clear the underside of the fuselage of the jet.

The driver of the truck was questioned by police, and BWIA met with ServisAir officials in emergency meet, as well as with the Civil Aviation Authority and Airports Authority.

Another BWIA aircraft, a Boeing 737, was damaged last month by another ServisAir truck and was also removed from service for repairs for 30 days. That incident cost the airline $1.2m in direct losses.

"A preliminary assessment of the A340 (damaged on Wednesday) suggests it could be out of service for a similar period and costs may exceed US$1.2 million," BWIA said in a statement yesterday.

Measure have been instituted to ensure that this sort of accident is avoided, and BWIA has announced that it will be exercising more oversigh and direct supervision of ramp activities.

FMI: www.bwee.com, www.servisair.com

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