Review Time For Menzies Aviation. Again.
Ten days after a dent
caused by a errant baggage loader turned into a hole at 26,000
feet, causing an MD-80 to lose cabin pressure and make a speedy
retreat back to the airport, another incident involving contract
ramp workers for Alaska Airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International
has drawn the ire of company officials -- and dented an
otherwise perfectly good airplane.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, passengers had just
begun boarding Flight 808, a 737-700 (file photo of type, center)
bound for DFW, Thursday morning when the plane was inadvertently
pulled forward by a tug, causing the plane's right engine nacelle
to strike a baggage loading machine and the plane's open door to
collide with the jetway.
No one was injured in the incident, and while the damage to the
plane was described as "minor" it was taken out of service so crews
could make sure. Passengers were put on another flight about two
The incident occurred uncomfortably close to another accident
caused by a ground crew worker at Sea-Tac. As was reported in Aero-News,
an Alaska Airlines MD-80 suffered cabin decompression December 26
when a small hole blew out on the side of the airliner's fuselage.
It was later determined the hole was caused by a "crease" in the
plane's aluminum skin, caused by a baggage loader who hadn't
thought the incident was worth reporting at the time.
The tug operator -- who, along with the baggage loader, works
for Menzies Aviation, the company brought in by Alaska last May to
replace 500 unionized ground workers -- was suspended, according to
Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Amanda Tobin.
"Alaska Airlines takes this extremely seriously and we are
aggressively investigating this situation to understand the root
cause and to take additional action to prevent this from
re-occurring," Tobin said.
For it's part, Menzies
said it will bring in a team of safety experts for a 90-day "top to
bottom" review of its operations. This is on top of the three-day
review held following the December 26 incident.
"Menzies will also be carrying out a full and immediate review
of its operations in Seattle," the company said in a statement
Thursday. "A task force, including Menzies top safety experts, will
shortly arrive and will work closely with Alaska Airlines and the
Port of Seattle."
Alaska Airlines will also add more company supervisors at its
Sea-Tac ramp, said Tobin, and the airline will provide additional
safety briefings for the more than 400 Menzies workers there.
The NTSB, already investigating the December 26 incident, will
also look into Thursday's fender-bender, according to the P-I.
London-based Menzies Aviation has operations at 92 locations
around the world.