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FAA: Airplane being towed at San Diego International Airport clipped wing of plane at gate

Posted at 12:06 PM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 15:06:55-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The FAA is investigating an incident in which a plane being towed clipped a parked aircraft at San Diego International Airport on Tuesday morning.

The incident occurred at about 6:30 a.m. when a Frontier Airlines plane clipped the winglet of an Alaska Airlines plane parked at a gate, according to the FAA. The small collision happened as the Frontier aircraft was being towed from a separate parking area.

"While being towed from a separate parking area, a Frontier Airlines Airbus A320 hit the winglet on a parked Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-890. The incident occurred around 6:30 a.m. local time today. No passengers were on board. No injuries were reported to the FAA. The FAA will investigate," an FAA statement to ABC 10News read.

A winglet is the portion of an aircraft wing at the tip that curves up, reducing drag on the aircraft.


Alaska Airlines confirmed to ABC 10News that no passengers were aboard, but catering staff was on the plane. The plane was taken out of service to be inspected, the airlines added.

"A Frontier plane clipped one of our planes while it was parked at the gate. Catering personnel were onboard, but no one was injured. Plane was taken out of service for inspection and guests were reaccommodated. There was no impact to our operations," an Alaska Airlines spokesperson said.

Tuesday's wing clipping comes after two other incidents at San Diego International in the last two months.

Earlier this month, audio recordings obtained by ABC 10News appeared to capture some confusion between at least two pilots and an air traffic controller, prompting an FAA investigation. Radio traffic captured a controller telling a Southwest flight to go around, then heard to not head to the runway, saying a flight is departing, leading to confusion.

In May, a near-miss was reported after an Alaska Airlines flight was arriving from Portland and prepared to land as a Delta Airlines flight was preparing to take off on the runway.

San Diego International Airport, formerly known as Lindbergh Field, claims to be the busiest single-runway airport in the world with nearly 500 daily flights, according to the airport.