Ouch: British Airways A350 & Emirates 777 Collide At Dubai Airport

Filed Under: British Airways, Emirates

On the one hand, you’d expect fewer incidents involving planes nowadays, given how quiet the skies are. On the other hand, airports are crowded with grounded planes, so I guess it’s not too surprising to see an airport incident.

Two planes collide in Dubai

Early this morning two “heavy” aircraft collided on the ground at Dubai International Airport, and it doesn’t look like this is going to be a cheap fix.

The planes in question were:

  • A British Airways Airbus A350-1000 with the registration code G-XWBA, which is British Airways’ first A350, and joined their fleet in July 2019
  • An Emirates Airline Boeing 777-300ER with the registration code A6-EBR, which is a 13 year old plane

The British Airways A350 was about to operate BA106 to London Heathrow (a cargo only flight), while the Emirates 777 was parked, having operated its last flight from Riyadh to Dubai yesterday afternoon.

Pictures of the planes show significant damage, especially to the left horizontal stabilizer of the British Airways A350 — this won’t be a cheap fix.

It’s not yet known exactly what happened, though the pushback tug is connected to the A350, so presumably that plane was being pushed back for departure.

It would appear that the Emirates 777 was just parked, so we don’t yet fully know how this happened. Was the pushback crew just not paying attention, was the 777 not parked where it was supposed to be, or…?

At least it wasn’t British Airways’ cursed A350

The A350 is a new addition to British Airways’ fleet, and British Airways only has five of these planes so far.

The plane with the registration code G-XWBD is British Airways’ fourth A350, and the plane does seem to be cursed. When I first heard that an incident happened with a British Airways A350, I assumed that plane was involved. Fortunately that wasn’t the case.

What makes G-XWBD so cursed? Even though the plane was only delivered to the airline in December 2019, it had several incidents:

  • In November 2019 while the plane was still being manufactured by Airbus, it suffered damage from a piece of equipment in the factory
  • In January 2020 the plane suffered damage from a hard landing in Tel Aviv
  • In February 2020 the plane reportedly had a hydraulic failure on approach to Toronto
  • In February 2020 the plane reportedly had a hydraulic fluid spill upon landing in London

Bottom line

I can’t imagine this is going to be a very cheap fix, either for British Airways or Emirates. It’ll be interesting to track both tail numbers and see how long these planes are on the ground in Dubai, and to see what an investigation reveals about this.

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if Emirates just retires this plane. It is 13 years old and they have over 130+ of them so in the current climate and considering the age…I wouldn’t be surprised

  2. I doubt VERY much (as one comment above!) The 350 will be write-off!! A plane thats not even a year old wont be written off i cant see the damaged stabiliser costing more than what the planes worth!!!

  3. I would surmise that both airlines and the airport management (probable owners of the TUG) have insurance coverage for this incident. The decisions as to where the blame lies and whether to pay to repair one or both of the planes or to scrap either of them will likely be made by the insurers, not the airlines.

  4. As the BA A350 was connected to a tug & being pushed back, then I expect the Ground Handler to be receiving a Bill from BA very soon.

  5. @Robbie – Guessing it was a joke. How does an airline end up with over 130 777’s that cost almost $200M each?

  6. Same insurance responsibility as with cars? As in, if you are driving a car and hit a vehicle that is not moving it’s all yours.

  7. What happened to the strict social distancing law in UAE. They should have parked at a distance. 😀

  8. I thought G-XWBA is cursed one. It broke down during first month of training flights and stranded me and others in Barcelona. Now this.

  9. Based on the apron marking (2nd picture), the 777 was parked within the boundry of the parking area. Clearly a tug driver mistake during push back of the 350.

  10. I guess they weren’t following the 6-ft rule. Oh well. At least the airlines didn’t need those planes right now anyway.

  11. There was yet another incident on this cursed first BA A350: In July 2019, British Airways pilots damaged the shiny new A350 aircraft by flying flaps overspeed.

    The cancellation thwarted a flyertalk meet-up flight. We had flown in from Russia at considerable expense in order to fly LHR-MAD-LHR last summer.

    Not only did BA cancel because the MAD turn (no substitute aircraft of any type was available at their Headquarters?!) but they declared their own pilot damaging their plane on the unbound was an act of God / unanticipated safety event.

    Thus far they have refused EC261 compensation.

  12. @larry and @ralph gotcha! Now I realise it was a joke! Neither airline will be at fault i assume now blame will focus on the ground staff

  13. Why should it cost EK or BA? Surely if it was connected to a tug then the ground handler’s insurance will need to step up?

  14. Following the damage it sustained on 14th April, British Airways A350-1000 G-XWBA departed Dubai this afternoon operating a Dubai – London Heathrow cargo sector as BA108.

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