MANCHESTER- A Virgin Atlantic (VS) flight bound for New York (JFK) faced a last-minute cancellation just before takeoff, triggered by a vigilant passenger who noticed the absence of screws on the plane’s wing.
Phil Hardy, a 41-year-old British traveler on Flight VS127 from Manchester Airport (MAN) on January 15, observed four missing fasteners during a safety briefing. Concerned about safety, Hardy promptly informed the cabin crew.
Virgin Atlantic Missing Screws
Although airline staff assured passengers that the wing’s safety remained intact, Hardy’s unease persisted, exacerbated by a recent incident involving an Alaska Airlines (AS) plane losing a door plug and part of its fuselage during a mid-flight occurrence.
Upon receiving Hardy’s notification, engineers were promptly dispatched to perform maintenance checks on the Airbus A330 aircraft before its planned departure to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.
Hardy recorded video footage of an engineer climbing onto the plane’s wing and utilizing a screwdriver to address the missing fasteners. Virgin Atlantic and Airbus underscored that, despite the absence of the fixings, the safety of the aircraft remained uncompromised.
The decision to cancel the flight, as conveyed by the Virgin representative to local media, was made to allow sufficient time for additional engineering maintenance checks as a precaution. This approach ensured that the team could thoroughly inspect the aircraft, prioritizing the safety of both customers and crew.
In their statement, the representative emphasized, “The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority, and this was not compromised at any point. We consistently adhere to safety standards well above industry norms, and the aircraft is now back in service.”
Neil Firth, the local chief wing engineer for A330 at Airbus, clarified that the affected panel was a secondary structure designed to enhance the aerodynamics of the plane.
With each panel containing 119 fasteners, the missing ones had no impact on the structural integrity or load capability of the wing.
As a precautionary measure, the aircraft underwent an additional maintenance check, and the missing fasteners were promptly replaced. Phil Hardy and his partner, Magdalena Bobusia, eventually reached their destination in New York City after being rebooked on another flight.
Stay tuned with us. Further, follow us on social media for the latest updates.