A costly repair bill is expected after a freight plane was damaged following its landing at the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport (YQM) Monday night.
“I would suspect, depending on internal damage to the aircraft, you’re probably talking $1.5 million to $2 million,” said Kalitta Air Vice President Pete Sanderlin.
Sanderlin says an engine on the left side of the Boeing 747-4HQF collided with a snowbank while the aircraft was being taxied in on the tarmac, after it arrived.
“Snow was not cleared back adequate enough for a 747, apparently,” he said.
“We were following the taxi director’s instructions and drug an engine on one of the snowbanks there.”
He says Kalitta Air will pay the cost of repairs up front, but adds the company will be in negotiations with the airport authority.
An engine cowling, which surrounds the engine, was damaged. The cowling was pushed in and “probably damaged some turbine blades,” according to Sanderlin.
Julie Pondant, a spokesperson for airport, says she was made aware of an incident involving damage to an engine at about 9 p.m. Monday.
Sanderlin says the freight plane was in Moncton to pick up lobster before heading to China.
“It’s just a misjudgment by the individuals that were directing the airplane,” he said.
He says four crew members were on board, but there were no injuries.
Sanderlin expects the plane will be removed Wednesday after a certified pilot is brought in to operate the plane without an engine.
“We have to move a qualified pilot. There’s a limited number of pilots approved to do the three-engine ferry,” he said.
“We’ll be moving a pilot in there later [Tuesday] and probably the airplane will depart tomorrow.”
He says Transport Canada would most likely be involved in the approval of the departing flight.
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Transport Canada told Global News on Tuesday that it’s continuing to gather information about the incident and will take “appropriate actions” should safety or security issues arise.
“It’s still pretty early in the stages as to what will be happening from now,” Pondant says. “I know they’re assessing why it happened, what happened, how to prevent it. Right now, we’re looking into that with our operational team and Transport Canada.”
“It’s basically to see in terms of safety, security to see if requirements were met (and) regulations were met in order to be able to have this aircraft in this land and park exactly where it was parked.”
Eric Collard, a spokesperson for the Transportation Safety Board of Canda, says they’re aware of the incident and will monitor any further developments. He says they don’t have an in-depth investigation opened at this time.