AAIB investigation to Boeing 737-8AS, EI-EBR
Baggage tractor struck forward, lower fuselage, London Luton Airport, 17 December 2014.
A baggage tractor struck the fuselage when approaching the forward cargo hold to load bags. The only occupants of the aircraft were the crew, who were unaware of the incident until an engineer informed them. There were scrape marks and dents extending more than one metre forward of the cargo hold on the right side of the forward, lower fuselage. The aircraft was removed from commercial service for several days to allow it to be repaired.
An investigation by the ground handling company established that the tractor had struck the aircraft when the driver attempted to load 20 bags quickly, without assistance and without the use of a belt loader vehicle. The company requires a belt loader to be used and the presence of a safety person before a vehicle approaches within three metres of an aircraft. After this accident the company re-assessed its handling processes and training procedures. All ramp staff were retrained and the auditing of turn-arounds was increased.
This accident was similar to one involving another Boeing 737-8AS (EI-EXF), at London Stansted Airport, on 3 December 2014.
Published: 9 April 2015
Date of occurrence: 17 December 2014