It’s not that uncommon for there to be collisions between planes on the ground. Fortunately typically no one is hurt, so it’s just a function of being a very expensive mistake to make. The most common type of collision we see is when planes’ wings strike one another, where you’ll sometimes see one plane’s wingtip take out the wingtip of another plane.
However, I don’t recall ever seeing anything like this. An Asiana A330 took out the tail of a Turkish A321 at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport today. Here are some pictures of the incident from Twitter user @JacedecNew:
The Asiana A330 (tail number HL7792) was departing for Seoul Incheon, though that flight was canceled following the incident, as you’d expect. The Turkish A321 (tail number TC-JMM) had just arrived from Ercan in Northern Cyprus.
It’s not yet clear what exactly caused this incident. It appears that Asiana was taxiing on the taxiway centerline, while the Turkish A321 seems to have been pulling into its arrival stand. At least that’s what it looks like. My first inclination is that they were waiting on the ground crew to give them the go ahead to pull in, and the Asiana plane may not have been paying attention.
We’ll have to wait and see who is at fault here — should the Asiana pilots have been paying more attention during the taxi, were the Turkish pilots or ground crew not paying enough attention while operating at the stand, or was it a combination of both (which is most likely)?
To me what’s most interesting here is that the tail can just “snap” like that. I figured if a wingtip hit it there might be some damage, but not that it would just snap the way it did.