Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 18:01 UK

Two planes in airport collision

Damaged planes at Manchester Airport

Two aircraft have been involved in what has been described as a minor collision at Manchester Airport.

Emergency services rushed to the scene after the wing tip of a Futura Boeing 737 hit the tail of a Lufthansa Airbus A320 while taxiing from Terminal One.

No-one on board the aircraft was hurt in the collision, which ripped about 4ft (1.2m) off one wing tip's fin.

Such incidents "should not happen", an airport spokesman said, although a wing collision happened at the site in 2004.

The airport remained fully operational and there were no delays to other flights as a result of the incident at 1330 BST.

The Futura flight, carrying 180 passengers, was bound for Tenerife, while the Lufthansa aircraft was carrying 108 passengers to Frankfurt, Germany.

The flights were due to take off five minutes apart at 1315 BST and 1320 BST respectively.

Damaged wing tip (pic: Ashley Petty)
It slashed the structure and ripped about three to four feet of the fin off of our wing tip
Alistair Pearson, Futura passenger

Both aircraft were being checked over by the fire service as a safety precaution and will later be examined by experts to assess any damage.

Alistair Pearson, an ex-aircraft engineer who was on board the Futura flight, said he became aware something was wrong when the pilot suddenly started braking heavily.

"As he did that we were looking out of the window and our wing fin struck the rear belly of the Lufthansa, in the area under where the tail fin is," said Mr Pearson.

"It slashed the structure and ripped about three to four feet of the fin off of our wing tip."

Asked how the passengers on board reacted, Mr Pearson said there was "surprise and shock", but "no panic at all".

"The feeling was mainly people's disappointment about knowing there was going to be a massive delay to their holidays," he added.

'Shook-up'

Airport spokesman Russell Craig said everyone stayed on board while the fire service checked over the planes, and then departed down the steps in the normal way.

"Obviously, if you are about to take a flight it's not something you expect to happen so I'd imagine people are feeling a little bit shook up," said Mr Craig.

"The airport is configured in such a way that when aircraft do move around, this kind of thing shouldn't happen.

A Lufthansa passenger described the collision

"It has occurred and we're all very keen to get to the bottom of it, but the important thing is that none of the passengers were hurt and, ultimately, this was a fairly minor incident."

Passengers were taken back to the terminal and hoped to complete their onward journeys later on Tuesday.

An inquiry into the incident will be carried out by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

One industry expert, David Learmount, of news service Air Transport Intelligence, said incidents of aircraft being damaged at airports were relatively common.

He said: "It's a serious problem in terms of expenses, but it's very rare that it involves people getting hurt."

A similar incident happened at Terminal Two at Manchester Airport in November 2004 when a Bmibaby Boeing 737 collided with the wing of an XL Airways Boeing 767.

No-one was hurt in the incident, which happened while both aircraft were on the ground preparing to depart.


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