Two planes collide at Heathrow Airport while aircraft being towed

Virgin says it has launched an investigation into the collision

Hannah Cottrell
Saturday 06 April 2024 15:22 BST
(Alex Whittles/X/PA Wire)

An investigation has been launched after two passenger planes collided while one of the aircraft was being towed at Heathrow Airport.

Footage posted on social media shows a Virgin Atlantic plane’s wing touching a British Airways aircraft, surrounded by emergency services.

The Virgin Boeing 787-9 plane had completed a flight and was being towed to a different part of the airfield with no passengers on board at the time of the incident, it is understood.

Virgin said it has launched an investigation into the collision.

The aircraft has been taken out of service and engineering teams are performing maintenance checks on it, the airline added.

The British Airways (BA) aircraft was stationary at the time of the incident and is being assessed by engineering teams, the company said.

BA said it has provided an alternative aircraft to “limit the impact on our customers”.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “We are aware that the wingtip of one of our empty aircraft came into contact with another aircraft whilst being towed from the stand at London Heathrow Terminal 3.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority.

“We can confirm no customers were on board the Virgin Atlantic aircraft during this time.

“We’ve commenced a full and thorough investigation and our engineering teams are performing maintenance checks on the aircraft, which for now has been taken out of service.”

It is understood Virgin Atlantic’s flying programme has not been disrupted by the incident.

The tow movement was provided by a ground handling company under contract by Virgin Atlantic.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “One of our aircraft, whilst stationary at Heathrow earlier today, was involved in a collision with another airline’s jet, which was being towed from a stand at the time.

“Our aircraft is being assessed by our engineering teams and we have provided an alternative aircraft to limit the impact on our customers.”

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We are working alongside emergency services and our airline partners in response to an incident involving two aircraft on the ground earlier today.

“At present, no passenger injuries have been reported and we do not anticipate there to be any ongoing impact to airport operations.”

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