A JetBlue flight bound for Puerto Rico bumped into an empty plane on the tarmac at the New York airport around 7am Wednesday morning. The incident is under investigation by the FAA. The agency said in a statement: ‘JetBlue Flight 1603 struck the tail of a parked JetBlue aircraft while pushing back from the gate around 7am at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The flight was going to Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Both aircraft were Airbus 320. No injuries were reported, and the FAA will investigate.’
This incident comes just days after hundreds of lives were nearly lost at the airport when a Delta Boeing 737 and an American Airlines Boeing 777 narrowly avoided colliding during the Delta plane’s takeoff. That incident remains under investigation by numerous federal agencies.
According to a passenger on board the JetBlue flight during Wednesday’s incident, the plane was being pushed from the gate by a pushback truck and preparing to taxi before takeoff. During the pushback, the AirBus A320 hit another parked JetBlue AirBus A320. Following the incident, the plane returned to the gate and passengers were forced to disembark. There were no reported injuries. Both aircraft were put out of service, the airline said. A JetBlue spokesperson said that the San Juan-bound flight ‘came into light contact with a parked unoccupied aircraft during pushback.’
The flight was due to take off at 6am and passengers eventually left on a new aircraft at 7.50am. In a statement to DailyMail.com, a JetBlue spokesperson said: ‘Safety is JetBlue’s first priority, and both aircraft involved will be taken out of service for inspection and the incident will be investigated.’
A similar incident to Wednesday’s occurred on January 2 at JFK when an ITA Airways plane clipped a Delta aircraft upon landing in New York after traveling from Rome. Nobody was injured, an ITA spokesperson said, adding passengers did not notice the impact.
The new checks have been in force since Tuesday, January 11 and deal with cockpit communications during critical events such as low visibility landings, according to the union. ‘The operational changes that management is attempting to implement without fulsome training alters how pilots communicate, coordinate, and execute flight safety duties at some of the most high-threat times of flight,’ the Allied Pilots Association (APA) said in a post last Monday.