Two separate ground collision incidents happened on the same day in China - a passenger shuttle bus smashed through a glass wall at Xiamen Airport, followed by a tow truck colliding with an Airbus A320 at Shanghai Pudong Airport. Let's take a closer look below.
Shuttle bus incident in Xiamen
On the morning of May 5th at Xiamen Airport (XMN), an empty passenger bus went through a glass wall at Terminal 3 to the shock of onlooking passengers. Fortunately, no one was sitting near the glass facade at the time of the crash, with no reported injuries.
According to a report from Yahoo News, the Xiamen Municipal Public Security Bureau said the accident happened because the driver failed to steer the vehicle properly. Flights boarding from nearby gates were delayed for around an hour because of the crash.
Tow truck hits A320 in Shanghai
Later in the evening of May 5th, another ground incident happened at a Chinese airport, this time at Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG). While details about the collision are limited, images show the roof of a tow truck wedged below the front fuselage of a Beijing Capital Airlines Airbus A320.
It isn't clear how much damage the aircraft sustained - data from FlightRadar24.com shows that the flight (JD417) from Shanghai to Bangkok departed four hours late. Whether the same aircraft involved in the collision or a new plane conducted this delayed flight isn't clear.
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Are safety standards slipping?
These two incidents occurred soon after the busy travel rush during China's five-day May holiday period, from April 29th to May 3rd this year, so it is possible worker fatigue played a role. Unfortunately, Friday's two incidents reveal a worrying pattern of slipping aviation safety standards worldwide.
As the global aviation industry ramped up after emerging from the COVID pandemic, it faced several operational challenges. This has led to an uptick of safety incidents, not just in China but worldwide, including in the US. This can be attributed to various factors, including staff shortages and the sudden rise in flight movements after the pandemic.
In April, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) released a bulletin demanding higher safety standards from airlines and airports, citing a "laziness" among staff and management and the lack of a strong safety culture. Aviation staff, such as ground workers, are not paid particularly well in China, which could also play its part in low safety standards.
Did you witness or hear about either of these two incidents in China on May 5th? Do you think aviation safety standards are falling, and if so, why? Let us know in the comment section.