Reports issued after jets collided twice in same spot at UK airport

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Friday, February 12, 2010

The United Kingdom's Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) has issued two reports today into collisions between jetliners in the same spot at Manchester Airport. None of the 468 passengers caught in the incidents, which were in separate years, were injured.

The first report concerned an incident in 2007 in which a Pakistan International Airways Boeing 777 struck a Flybe Bombardier Q400. The 777 was trying to turn in behind the Q400 onto the taxiway when its wingtip struck the smaller aircraft's rudder.

The 777's pilot had been "cautioned about the presence" of Flybe's plane, according to the AAIB. The pilot stated that he believed he had sufficient room to manoeuvre and that he expected a further warning were this not the case. The aircraft were later able to continue on their journeys.

The second report issued today involves the exact same location, this time scene of a collision in 2008. A Boeing 737 operated by now-defunct Spanish airline Futura was instructed to "give way"; this confused the flight crew of the Tenerife-bound plane and it moved forward, one wingtip striking the tail of a Lufthansa Airlines Airbus A320 destined for Frankfurt.

The Futura flight crew had believed they had an unobstructed path with plenty of space to clear the A320. The AAIB recommended that Manchester's air traffic controllers stop using the phrase "give way" and instead state "hold position". Procedures have already been changed at Manchester in light of the collisions.