Last week, a New York-bound flight under Virgin Atlantic had to be canceled to conduct additional maintenance checks after a passenger spotted parts missing from the aircraft’s wing.
The U.K.-based carrier began the checks last week, after a passenger told the flight crew that several bolt fastener tops were missing, according to the Manchester Evening News, which first reported the flight’s cancellation.
According to a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson, the airline canceled the flight “to provide time for precautionary additional engineering checks, which allowed our team the maximum time to complete their inspections.”
The plane, an Airbus A330, was scheduled to fly from Manchester, England, to New York City. The inspection team discovered that four of the 119 fasteners on the wing panel were missing, according to the airline. Workers installed new fasteners as replacements.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority and this was not compromised at any point,” Virgin Atlantic told FOX Business. “We always work well above industry safety standards and the aircraft is now back in service.”
“The panel in the image is a secondary structure panel, used to improve the aerodynamic performance of the aircraft,” Neil Firth, an Airbus local chief wing engineer for the A330, said in a statement in regard to the four tops that were missing. “Each of these panels has 119 fasteners so there was no impact to the structural integrity or load capability of the wing, and the aircraft was safe to operate.”
The cancellation comes just weeks after an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max-9 suffered a catastrophic incident while in-flight, after one of the plug doors in the plane was ripped off while the plane was ascending.
Footage of the incident scanned the interior of the plane and showed the 171 passengers inside the plane, with some clutching their oxygen masks and nervously looking at the large hole.
The plane originally departed from the Portland International Airport around 5 p.m. and “quickly turned around” after reaching an altitude of 16,000 feet. Miraculously, no one was killed in the incident, though several sustained injuries.
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