A COLLISION between a Caribbean Airlines (CAL) passenger aircraft and a stationary Fly Jamaica Boeing 767, which occurred early on Tuesday at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri, has resulted in both planes being grounded, both flights being delayed, and a number of passengers expressing frustration at the setback.
Initial reports are that the incident occurred at about 07:42hrs, when the right wing of the CAL aircraft, which was bringing passengers from New York, accidentally clipped the rear of the Fly Jamaica Boeing during touchdown.
However, a statement from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) puts the time of the accident closer to 07:50hrs, and the location as the international apron of the runway.
Aviation sources subsequently told the Guyana Chronicle that the Fly Jamaica aircraft, scheduled to depart for Toronto, Canada that morning, was being prepared for boarding when the incident occurred. They say that the CAL aircraft, a Boeing 738, had just landed at CJIA when it was instructed by Air Traffic Control (ATC) to park on the international apron just off the airport’s terminal building; and while taxiing off the main runway, the aircraft made a sharp turn to exit the taxiway for parking, and thus its right winglet, a small extension of the wing, clipped the exhaust cone at the rear of the stationary Fly Jamaica aircraft.
As a result of the collision, both aircraft have been ordered parked as the GCAA and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation (CJIAC) begin investigating the incident.
The cone became detached from the aircraft, the second of two operated by the Jamaica-based airline; and as airport staff responded to the accident, emergency response teams were reportedly on standby.
Staff of both agencies converged later in the morning at the Control Tower, listening to recordings of conversations between the ATC staff and the pilots of the two planes in the hope of finding out what transpired on the ground prior to the incident.
Sources at Timehri later reported that it may be too early to determine who would shoulder responsibility for the incident.
Ground operations at the CJIA have been accident-free for decades. The last major aircraft accident at the airport occurred in July 2011 when a CAL Boeing 738 ran off the runway and broke in two after touchdown.
After years of investigation into the cause of the incident, which is seen in aviation circles as one of the most spectacular non-disaster aircraft crashes in recent history, the verdict came back as pilot error. No one was seriously injured in that incident.