Questions, safety checks after planes collide at JFK Airport

April 12, 2011 8:22:56 PM PDT
Two jets involved in a frightening collision at New York City's Kennedy Airport will be inspected to determine the extent of their damage.

The Port Authority took a series of measurements and has compiled for pilots and JFK controllers a long list of places the A380 can and cannot go on the airfield. This route was on the list, according to the Eyewitness News source, and it should not have been.

Port Authority officials have claimed that the Comair flight had not cleared the taxiway at the time of the collision.

Investigators were working to determine whether the smaller jet had fully-cleared the taxiway, or whether the colossal wingspan of the 'superjumbo' made the jet simply too wide to be using it.

Hundreds of people headed to Paris took an unexpected detour when their plane clipped a smaller jet on the runway at JFK Monday night.

Air France said Tuesday morning that the incident only caused material damage to the aircrafts, both of which have been grounded.

Airport officials say a Comair flight from Boston landed around 8 p.m. and was heading toward the gate when the Air France Airbus A380, the world's biggest commercial jet, hit its tail while taxiing for takeoff.

The smaller regional flight was tossed around like a toy.

"This wasn't just two airplanes bumping together. The Air France plane really creamed the regional jet," said Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation, an industry funded group that promotes global aviation safety. "This is not something that happens every day. This is not normal."

Witnesses say the passengers were wearing their seat belts and no one on either plane was injured, but they were shaken up.

"The plane shook very, very violently, and the next thing we knew, we were told to hurry out of the plane," Comair passenger Sebastian Pinel said. "It was only when we walked out that we realized what had happened, that the tail of our plane had been clipped by another plane."

People on board say it sounded like the plane hit a giant pothole on the runway. CNN correspondent Jim Bitterman was on the Air France flight.

"It felt to me like maybe they hit a rough patch of pavement or something like that," Bitterman said. "But the pilots immediately stopped the plane, and within I would say a minute or two, the fire trucks started arriving around the plane."

There were 66 people on the Comair plane, which runs regional flights for Delta. The Airbus was carrying 520 passengers. Those passengers are either staying at hotels or were transferred to other flights.

Officials will be inspecting the planes Tuesday to determine the full extent of the damage.