The damaged aircraft is barely half a year old.
For airlines and aviation enthusiasts alike, one of the most heartbreaking situations is to see a relatively new aircraft get severely damaged through an unfortunate incident.
This was what happened to a five-month-old Air Transat Airbus A321neo earlier this month when the aircraft received heavy damage to its nose during a standard towing procedure.
This Airbus A321neo aircraft is C-GOIR, which took off on its 1st flight on July 8th this year. Just over a week later, on July 16th, the aircraft was delivered to Air Transat. The aircraft happens to be the 1st of 2 Airbus A321neos that Air Transat received this year, both of which were leased from Irish aircraft lessor AerCap.
Then 3 days later, on July 19th, C-GOIR operated its inaugural flight service for Air Transat as flight TS 628 from Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport to Nice Cote d’Azur Airport. Configured for 199 passengers in a two-class configuration, C-GOIR is mainly operated for the airline’s long-haul flights and is usually deployed to destinations in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Cuba, the Netherlands, Ireland, and the Dominican Republic.
Unfortunately, C-GOIR would be temporarily grounded after operating its last commercial flight TS 973, when it returned from Samana El Catey International Airport to Montreal Airport on November 2nd. The Airbus narrowbody was then ferried over to Vancouver International Airport on the same day, where the incident would occur.
At the time of writing, Air Transat has yet to reply to a request for an official comment on the incident, so the cause and what happened is yet to be completely determined. Regardless, the incident occurred either when C-GOIR was being towed or pushed back, and everything went along relatively smoothly until the tow bar allegedly failed by snapping.
Due to the snapped tow bar, the tow tug leaped underneath the aircraft fuselage and caused significant damage. Fortunately, there have been no reports of any personnel or passenger injuries resulting from the incident. Pictures circulating on social media showed C-GOI bearing a gaping tear around its nose section, and it was not the prettiest sight on such a young aircraft.
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With only circulated pictures and an undetermined official cause of the incident, speculations arose that the tow tug itself was probably not meant to be operated for narrowbody aircraft but instead meant for widebodies. Other assumptions included how the bypass pin for the tow bar was perhaps not inserted properly or not at all.
Vancouver International Airport
Whatever the actual cause or if it is anyone’s fault, C-GOIR remains a relatively damaged aircraft and has since been grounded at Vancouver International Airport, where it awaits a lengthy repair process.
It will take quite some time, but eventually, the aircraft will be flying through blue skies again and operating its regular long-haul flights out of Canada.
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