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Officials: Delta flights involved in 2 more wingtip hits at JFK

Twice within about an hour Wednesday, planes operated by Delta Air Lines were involved in wingtip strike incidents while taxiing to their gates at Kennedy Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration and airport officials said.

The incidents — one involving an arriving flight about 4:30 p.m., the second involving an arriving flight around 5:30 p.m. — came a day after the FAA said the wing of a Delta flight struck the tail stabilizer of an American Airlines flight on a departure taxiway at Kennedy.

Delta Air Lines did not immediately comment Thursday. The FAA has said it is investigating.

Airport officials said a driver whose parked airplane tug was struck by the Delta flight in the second gate-side incident Wednesday was taken by EMS ambulance to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center with injuries to his lower back and right arm. Officials said the driver, a 57-year-old man, was treated and released.

No other injuries were reported in the three incidents.

An airport official said such mishaps involving one carrier are “not common.”

In the first incident Wednesday, a Delta flight that had just landed hit a Delta Bombardier CRJ-900 twin-engine regional jet preparing to taxi for departure, the FAA said. En route to its gate at Terminal 4, authorities said the arriving aircraft’s wing “brushed” the wing of the Delta Bombardier.

About an hour later, airport officials said, Delta Flight 401, a twin-engine McDonnell Douglas MD-88 that had just arrived from Orlando, hit the parked flatbed tug — used to move aircraft on the tarmac — injuring the driver.

Authorities said that flight carried 149 passengers, none of whom were injured.

It was not clear what role ground personnel might have played in the two incidents Wednesday. Officials said that in one of the incidents the aircraft involved was being directed to the gate by “wing walkers” who noticed its “deviation” from the marked centerline too late to avoid collision.

On Tuesday night the wing tip of a Delta Boeing 737, preparing to depart for Seattle with 164 passengers and crew aboard, struck the tail stabilizer of an American Airlines 757 with 130 passengers and crew as it waited to depart Kennedy for Dublin.

The FAA said the Delta flight was “following” the American Airlines jet on Taxiway C at Kennedy when controllers “directed” the American flight to turn left onto Taxiway DB — while ordering the Delta flight to continue on Taxiway C.

“As the Delta flight passed behind American 290, its left wing touched the tail of American Flight 290,” the FAA said in a statement Wednesday.

Both aircraft were taken out of service, with the American flight delayed 5 1⁄2 hours and the Delta flight delayed almost five hours, according to records.

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