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Airline Investigates After Jets Clip at Newark Airport

An airline whose plane clipped another plane on a taxiway at Newark Liberty International Airport and lost part of a wing said Thursday it has started an investigation into how it happened.

The Scandinavian Airlines plane’s left wing clipped the tail of a United Airlines plane on Wednesday night as they were preparing for takeoff at one of the nation’s busiest airports. No one was injured, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Scandinavian Airlines Flight 908, bound for Oslo, Norway, was behind ExpressJet Flight 4226, destined for Nashville, Tenn., and was turning right to enter another taxiway when it touched the ExpressJet plane, officials said. Photos and video from the scene showed a significant portion of the left wing jaggedly torn off.

Scandinavian Airlines said its plane’s left winglet, an upturned part at the end of the wing that helps minimize drag and reduce fuel consumption, was damaged and was being removed. It said the aircraft can fly without winglets, which are designed to improve flying efficiency.

The ExpressJet plane was towed back to the gate, and the Scandinavian Airlines plane taxied back to the gate, where passengers disembarked, New York’s WNBC-TV reported. Other flight accommodations were made so the passengers, 31 on the ExpressJet and more than 70 on the Scandinavian Airlines jet, could get to their destinations.

Scandinavian Airlines, which is known as SAS and has hubs in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, said Thursday it wouldn’t speculate on the cause of the accident.

U.S. authorities also were investigating. ExpressJet Airlines said it was “working in coordination with officials to determine a cause.”

ExpressJet, which bills itself as the world’s largest regional airline, operates as a United Express partner from United’s Newark hub. United, which has headquarters in Chicago, is part of United Continental Holdings Inc.

 

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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