No injuries were reported in Tuesday’s incident when a Korean Air flight and a Cathay Pacific aircraft collided near the gate at New Chitose Airport at about 5:30 p.m. local time, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
New Chitose Airport had warned earlier on Tuesday that heavy snow would likely cause delays and cancellations.
According to Cathay Pacific, its aircraft was struck by a taxiing Korean Air A330 while it was parked on the tarmac with no passengers or crew aboard.
Korean Air confirmed in a statement that the A330 “came into contact” with the Cathay plane during pushback but no injuries occurred.
Kyodo news agency reported that the Korean Air flight to Seoul was carrying 289 passengers and crew at the time of the collision. The left wing of the A330 sustained damage while the Cathay Boeing 777-300 sustained damage near the right tail.
According to NHK, the collision occurred when the vehicle towing the Korean Air flight skidded on the snow-covered tarmac.
Tuesday’s collision was the second airport incident to take place in Japan this month.
On January 2, a Japan Airlines flight burst into flames after it collided with a Coast Guard aircraft as it landed in Tokyo. Five Coast Guard crew members were killed while the 367 passengers and 12 crew aboard the Japan Airlines flight were safely evacuated.
An investigation is still underway to determine what caused the deadly collision. A transcript of the exchange between air traffic control and both planes shows that the Japan Airlines flight was cleared to land while the Coast Guard plane was instructed to “taxi to holding point” next to the same runway.
Aviation expert Kathleen Bangs told the New York Times that the two collisions are entirely different.
She said the deadly collision in Tokyo involved a high-speed impact with an aircraft on a runway that wasn’t supposed to be there, while Tuesday’s wingtip collision was low-speed and at the gate.
Bangs said gate collisions are “not rare.”
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