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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Garuda's collision with containers in Singapore - Sometimes you just can't win!

PK-GFI and the container after the collision at SIN

Last week, Garuda Indonesia's 737-800 PK-GFI suffered a mishap when a baggage container belonging to Singapore Airlines collided with the parked aircraft. The aircraft was on a ground turnaround and parked at the gate awaiting the next flight scheduled for 0900 local time as GA841 to Denpasar, Bali. The aircraft was immediately grounded, causing 50 passengers having to be flown to Bali with other flights.

The offending container and trolley
Puncture just above the static port

The aircraft skin was punctured just aft of door L1, and very nearly hit a static port just below the puncture (which would have caused a lot more in repair bills).

A very expensive 7 inches?
To illustrate the depth of the puncture, the photo on the left was also circulating around the internet. The depth of the puncture is estimated at 7 inches, and quite likely that the pressure hull has been compromised.

News on the incident quickly disappeared from the front of various news sites (including aviation sites), but the aircraft is still undergoing repairs in Singapore.

This evening (21 April 2012), the aircraft was seen at the remote apron just off Terminal 1 in Singapore, with its forward fuselage coved by a white "tent", presumably still having repairs on it. A photo was tweeted by TCG_Aviation, who was on a flight inbound from Kuala Lumpur who tweeted:
@TCG_Aviation: What is Garuda's 737 white cover doing over forward fuselage at SIN Airport? #airchat http://pic.twitter.com/8qijm5HT
Photo by: TCG_Aviation

We can see that the aircraft is covered by some form of tent, obviously to hide the repair work that is going on behind the covers. PK-GFI (msn 36805) is leased from GECAS and was first flown on 7 October 2010 and delivered to Garuda 2 weeks later. 

What I find interesting about this incident is the statement by Garuda Indonesia's VP Corporate Quality, Safety & Environment Management, Capt. Novianto Herupratomo, who in a recent seminar in Jakarta stated that despite improving safety over the past decade, two of the airline's most serious safety issues that remain in 2011 were Near Collisions (TCAS RAs) and Ramp/Ground Incidents.

Unfortunately, those two factors are not 100% within the airline's control as this incident shows. 

External threats like Near-Collisions and
Ramp/Ground incidents continue
to challenge Garuda
The safety figures continue to improve
despite continue external safety threat factors

No matter how hard you try, sometimes, you just can't win when bad luck comes along. However, I cannot help but remember that this is not the first time a ground incident has happened for Garuda in Singapore, and I dare say that Singapore seems to be the airport outside Indonesia that has had the most ground mishaps for Garuda. 

But I despite all this, I can't help but wonder, who's going to pay the bill this time?

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