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Questions On Damages By Ground Handling Companies  
User currently offlineWestIndian425 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1024 posts, RR: 1
Posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4646 times:

Hey, guys!

In light of some incidents that I've been trying to follow in POS concerning ServisAir employees "accidentally" driving ramp vehicles into airplanes (I understand BWIA and Continental are both victims), I've decided to start this new topic of discussion, and have a few questions:


  1. Are there statistics to show how many incidents like these occur worldwide, and the costs of repair?

  2. I'd assume that the company who hired the unfortunate employee would have to pay for the repairs, or is it the insurance companies?
  3. Large airlines, such as Continental, American, United, British Airways, etc. may be able to quickly substitute for the damaged aircraft on a specified route. However, small airlines like BWIA don't have that luxury. Obviously, losses would incur, as they'd probably have to lease or charter in order to keep the schedules rather than cancel flights altogether. Would the ground handling companies be responsible for those costs as well?

  4. I understand that this is a common occurrence worldwide, but which airports and/or countries have the worst record statistically with ground handling mishaps, and does this affect an airline's decision to fly to these destinations, or even utilize their own ground handling as opposed to outsourcing?

  5. What's the worst incident you've seen or heard about? Have there been any write-off's as a result of these mishaps?



What say you, fellow A-netters?

Neil


God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMatthewkh From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 72 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 4593 times:

Can't answer everything, but I can give a little insight to parts 1 & 2. For several years I was a manager for a company that contracted with various regional airlines to clean their aircraft here in the US. Our company was required to cary liability coverage by the respective airport authority, as well as by the airline. Each airport has slightly different coverage requirements, and the airlines typically seem to be happy with whatever the airport requires. For example, I believe in PHX we had to have $5 million in liability coverage to simply conduct business on the airport, while in TUS for some reason we were required to carry $10 million. I can recall one particular instance when one of my employeed rolled a stand into the wingtip of a Dash-8 in the hangar, and cracked the fiberglass. The repair itself was about $2000, but after lost revenues from an 8 hour MX delay, our insurance company was billed somewhere around $80,000 for the incident. Hope that at least helps to answer part of your question.


God I love the smell of avgas in the morning!!!
User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 4571 times:

the worst i have seen is $800 000 in damage to a CRJ-200 nose gear when a puch agent got a little punchy behind the wheel. i'll try to find out more details for you at work tommorow.


"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
User currently offlineWestIndian425 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1024 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4562 times:

Thanks guys! You both have been a great help. So it is the insurance companies that pay the bills. I look forward to hearing from more A-netters.

Neil



God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
User currently offlineUnitedTristar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4524 times:

A friend of mine at UA told me that there was a UA 757 in SEA that was hit in the tail by a cabin service truck that had over 12 million in damage, bent a structural beam or something, by a contract service. He said that it was in for repairs for 4 months. You know a 757 will generate millions in 4 months.

-m

 Big thumbs up


User currently offlineMatthewkh From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 72 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4502 times:

You know, as much hype there is about contractors sometimes, from my experiences the airline employees themselves actually cause a lot more damage in general. Anybody else see this, too?

A few examples:

A mechanic jack-knifed a tug pulling an aircraft out of the hanger one night...the ground was dry so he couldn't blame it on weather. That took some skill. Luckily he narrowly avoided coming into contact with the fuselage.

The airline had a brand new Toyota truck they were using for commissary on the ramp, and a baggage tug side-swiped the truck causing a lot of damage. They drove it around with the driver side door speed-taped shut for a few weeks before deciding to scrap the truck. What a waste.

Can't tell you how many times the rampers backed aircraft into each other over my years out there.

During my time as a manager of a contracting company, we maybe damaged 5 aircraft (usually very minor requiring a simple fix and no insurance claim), while there were probably at least 25 incidents during the same time involving the airlines own personnel.





God I love the smell of avgas in the morning!!!
User currently offlineWestIndian425 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1024 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 4449 times:

That was very interesting, Matthewkh. Statistically, do you think (addressed to everyone) that the airlines' own ground handling staff can be more reckless or have more incidents that the contracting companies?

Neil



God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
User currently offlineMatthewkh From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 72 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4427 times:

I wonder if sometimes (assuming that the airlines themselves do actually cause more damage) it has something to do with labor unions? Contractors are not typically unionized, so they have that fear of job loss while working around aircraft; while union workers can sometimes seem to get away with murder and get a pay raise on top. (BTW, not bashing unions here, so don't jump on me. Just stating an observation). Any other thoughts?


God I love the smell of avgas in the morning!!!
User currently offlineWestIndian425 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1024 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 4380 times:

This is really turning out to be an intersting debate. I'm sorry, there aren't more responses.

You make an interesting point, Matthewkh. However, on the flip side, can you make the agrument that the contract workers generally get paid less (I'm speculating) than the unionized airline workers and may not get the same perks as the airline workers, thus their "motivation" may not be as strong. This obviously is a weak argument, but it goes to the fundamentals of productivity in the workplace.

Neil.



God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
User currently offlineMatthewkh From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 72 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 4357 times:

Potentially. I have worked around both unionized rampers and non unionized rampers. Thinking about it, it was the non union rampers that caused the majority of the damage. The unionized rampers seemed to spend more of their time avoiding actually doing anything, while the non union were typically on-the-go. If you're not doing anything, I guess you cant really break anything, can you?

True, the non union rampers in PHX caused the majority of damage I saw, but PHX is also a very busy airport for this airline, with probably around 100 daily departures. With that sheer volume, you would have to expect there to be more incidents.

However, in TUS we had a mixture of both unionized and non union rampers (two different contracting airlines), and the only incident I saw down there was caused by the unionized, whom didn't seem phased by it at all. In fact, they tried to blame it on everyone but themselves.

Sitting here and thinking about it, I think it is much more complex than airline vs contract, or union vs non union. It has to be a function of age/experience/employee motivation, which is directly related to overall compensation (lower compensation = younger, less experienced workforce and vice-versa); which requires considering not just base pay, but benefits (health, sick pay, vacation time, travel, etc); union dues vs the benefits of being in the union; and even the workplace environment (being understaffed vs being properly staffed, being happy and productive vs tense and stifling), which also requires considering company policies and procedures, as well as the individual manager(s) on shift (some managers nurture their employees individual growth as valued members of a team, while others tend to be aloof and hinder the individual employee).

Perhaps there is no generalization to be made. Even if we did have statistics that suggested one way or the other, they would undoubtedly be directly affected by all of the above factors, as well as just the proportion of contract company work vs airline work. If company A handles 100 planes a day, and airline B handles 10, company A will statistically have more incidents than airline B over a period of time despite all other factors. In other words, he/she who moves more airplanes will break more.







God I love the smell of avgas in the morning!!!
User currently offlineSlider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6810 posts, RR: 34
Reply 10, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 4337 times:

Are there statistics to show how many incidents like these occur worldwide, and the costs of repair?

Yes, each carrier maintains their own records for this within their respective safety departments, however there is no industry reporting standard unless it is an NTSB reportable incident. Costs of repair are also a thorny issue, as there are the obvious direct costs, but each carrier may gauge total costs differently if they factor in out of service costs, pax goodwill, reprotection costs, etc, etc.

I'd assume that the company who hired the unfortunate employee would have to pay for the repairs, or is it the insurance companies?

Depends on the vendors' insurance contracts, but usually the air carrier has the means to subrogate the claim to the vendor, which in turn may be paid by the insurance company. Many airlines are self-insured, however, so they eat the costs directly and "square it up" with the third party later.

What's the worst incident you've seen or heard about? Have there been any write-off's as a result of these mishaps?

There are a few so severe I can't talk about them, but in terms of NON-flight operations related incidents, the worst one I recall off the top of my head was a 767-300 that had just completed a D-check. It was literally about to leave the hangar and the nose gear collapsed (main gear drag brace had been re-machined and it was done out of tolerance, weakening it, and it gave way...that's the short non-technical and non-verbose answer), and the damn airplane went BAM! onto the hangar floor.

Sent 'er right back into a check D I believe, as there were stringers, spars, avionics bays came unseated, etc. It was ugly.





User currently offlineWestIndian425 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1024 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (10 years 2 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4312 times:

I really appreciate your input, guys. This was very informative, and I see how complicated it can get when determining the costs (both direct and indirect). I wonder if there is any specific company that has a negative reputation industry-wide in terms of such incidents. I assume it'll probably be based on the specific airport.

Neil



God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
User currently offline737captain From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 120 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 years 2 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 4278 times:

I'd have to agree with Matthewkh on this one. I worked for Mesa airlines(non-union) in PHX as a ramp lead (and supervisor on many occasions) and cannot begin to count how many times somebody damaged brand new equipment or aircraft. If I had to make a guess I'd go so far as to say somebody was suspended or terminated at least once every two weeks for damaging company equipment and aircraft........now I haven't worked for any other airlines, but to the best of my knowledge HP(union) never had problems to the extent YV did concerning damage. I have so many stories about aircraft and equipment damage I could almost write a novel. In the past year YV employees have managed to do some pretty dumb things(to mention just a few):

1. Two YV maintenance personnel taxied a CRJ-200 into a Ground power unit and managed to drag it almost 30 feet while it was lodged under the wing- the mx guys said the only reason they stopped is because they couldn't move anymore with that GPU lodged underneath the wing!!

2. A YV ramp agent pushed a full Dash 8 out of gate B1A spun it around and backed the tail right into a fully loaded Crj-200 sitting in the gate behind the DH8!! (see pic below, Gate 1A is the farthest to the left in the "horseshoe" with the DH8 sitting in it, he hit the RJ which was sitting where the third Dash 8 is sitting now-2 gates to the right of 1A)

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Terry Nash/Cactus Wings



3. On a few occasions we have had ramp agents marshall in aircraft with tall bagcarts sitting in the safety zone, thus striking or grazing them with the wing of the aircraft, which of course puts them out of service until mx can get around to fixing the plane, and let me tell you, YV planes are always broken, so it would take a while to get someone over to fix or clear the plane for service.

Those are just a few examples of some dumb mistakes rampers have made in PHX while servicing aircraft. There have been many other occurrences I could talk about, but I am tired of typing Big grin



"Why do you insist on man-pawing the glareshield everytime you climb up here?!"
User currently offline737captain From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 120 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 years 2 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 4263 times:

Regarding airlines other then YV the worst I have heard of was caused by some NW mechanics in LGA or SEA(my email says SEA, but it doesn't look like it from the pictures).............Apparently they were taxiing an A320(under the aircrafts power, not a tow) from a mx pad somewhere to one of the gates, but when they got to the gate, the ramp agents weren't ready and made the mx guys wait out in the alley while they cleared the safety zone for the aircraft's arrival, so to preserve fuel the mx guys turned off one of the engines. When the gate was finally clear, the irritated maintenance guys gave the plane a massive amount of thrust to get it rolling and as they approached the gate they realized they didn't have any brakes because they shut down the wrong engine!? In a vain attempt to stop the plane they threw the engine into reverse causing the plane to veer into a company 757 sitting in the gate adjacent to them causing a huge gash in the fuselage of the 57, the 320 then proceeded to hit some ground service vehicles- collapsing the nose gear. The collapse of the nose gear dropped the nose of the plane just low enough to clear some of the jetway thus sliding into the base of the jetway! Luckily it didn't collapse, although I don't know how this situation could've gotten much worse, considering the circumstances, unless their were pax on board, lucky for them that was not the case. True story..........I do have some pics if anybody is interested in seeing them email me and I shall send them to you.
Note- I paraphrased this story from the description of the accident that was emailed to me.
Cheers  Smile

[Edited 2004-07-13 08:48:44]


"Why do you insist on man-pawing the glareshield everytime you climb up here?!"
User currently offlineMatthewkh From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 72 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (10 years 2 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4218 times:

737 Captain,

Well I was trying to save all my Mesa brethren some emberrasment by not naming names, but you went ahead and did it for me...lol...oh well.

I left a few weeks after they turned the Dash into the 200; the whole collision with the GPU must be fairly recent...that's too funny.

Maybe it's just Mesa!?!



God I love the smell of avgas in the morning!!!
User currently offlineWestIndian425 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1024 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (10 years 2 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4198 times:

Oh my goodness!! What stories!! And to think that these were caused by company maintenance and ramp personnel! Did insurance cover the damages?

Neil



God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
User currently offlineBWIA 772 From Barbados, joined May 2002, 2200 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (10 years 2 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4163 times:

425

Serviceair insurance apparently will be the ones paying for the damage done to the two BWIA aircrafts. Here is the linkg
http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_news?id=29727046



Eagles Soar!
User currently offlineMatthewkh From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 72 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (10 years 2 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4144 times:

I guess insurance is good for something afterall...


God I love the smell of avgas in the morning!!!
User currently offline320tech From Turks and Caicos Islands, joined May 2004, 491 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (10 years 2 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4131 times:

737captain:

"they realized they didn't have any brakes because they shut down the wrong engine"

Whatever else those techs did wrong, it wasn't shutting down the "wrong" engine. The A320 has two brake systems ("Normal", No. 1 engine, Green Hyd Sys, and "Alternate", No. 2 engine, Yellow Hyd Sys). Each operates like normal brakes would in any airliner. There is also a park brake that will stop the airplane right now, and isn't something I would use to stop the airplane unless it was a real emergency (like I was about to hit the gate, for example).

The worst damage I've seen is an A320 struck by a pallet loader on an icy apron (the brakes locked up, apparently). Major structural damage - the repair involved reskinning all around the right side of the fuselage, from just behind the cockpit to just forward of the cargo door, and from the crown to about the 4 o'clock position. It was in the millions by the time the thing was done (over a month), and most of it was in loss of use.



The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the manufacturer and impossible for the AME.
User currently offlineWestIndian425 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1024 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (10 years 2 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 4118 times:

Here's another question that I thought of:

If in fact that the airline cannot receive compensation for lost revenue due to a downed aircraft, can it claim that as a loss on the end-of-fiscal-year taxes and receive a deduction?

Neil



God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
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