Advertisement

Manchester to New York flight cancelled just before take-off after passenger notes fasteners missing from wing

The cancellation follows a dramatic fortnight in aviation  (Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
The cancellation follows a dramatic fortnight in aviation (Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

A Virgin Atlantic flight from Manchester to New York’s JFK airport was cancelled just before take-off after a passenger noticed an issue with the bolts on one of the wings.

Flight VS127 was prevented from taking off on 15 January after a passenger saw that the tops of four fasteners were missing on a panel on one of the wings. It was cancelled in order to allow engineers to carry out an additional inspection of the aircraft.

Both Virgin Atlantic and Airbus emphasised that there was “no impact to the safety of the aircraft”. An Airbus spokesperson explained that the panel in question is used “to improve the aerodynamic performance of the aircraft”.

Each of the wing panels on an Airbus A330 has 119 fasteners, so the fact that only four were missing did not impact “the structural integrity or load capability of the wing, and the aircraft was safe to operate”, they added.

Nevertheless, the flight was cancelled “to provide time for precautionary additional engineering maintenance checks”. Passengers were flown to JFK on alternate flights.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said that the “safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority and this was not compromised at any point.

“We always work well above industry safety standards and the aircraft is now back in service. We’d like to apologise to our customers for the delay to their journeys.”

The cancellation comes just a few days after a Virgin Atlantic flight was forced to turn back to Manchester Airport after around 20 minutes of its flight to Barbados due to the cockpit reportedly filling with smoke.

It also follows the dramatic incident on board an Alaska Airlines flight in which a panel blew off the side of a Boeing 737 Max 9. The Max 9 aircraft have been grounded since the incident on 5 January.