Virgin Atlantic cancels a flight to New York City after passengers noticed screws missing
A Virgin Atlantic flight to New York City was canceled moments before takeoff when a passenger noticed screws missing on the plane’s wing.
British traveler Phil Hardy, 41, was on board flight VS127 at Manchester Airport on January 15 when he identified four missing fasteners during a safety briefing for passengers. In an effort to ensure safety, Hardy immediately notified the flight crew.
“I’m a good pilot, but my partner didn’t like the information I was telling her and she started to panic, and I was trying to make her as comfortable as possible,” Hardy told Kennedy News. The moment you discover the missing fasteners.
“I thought I’d better mention it to the flight attendant to be on the safe side.”
Despite repeated assurances from airline employees that the integrity of the wing was not affected, Hardy’s concerns increased, especially in light of a recent incident involving an Alaska Airlines plane in which a door seal and part of the fuselage were lost mid-flight.
Following Hardy’s alert, engineers were quickly dispatched to perform maintenance checks on the Airbus A330 before its scheduled departure to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.
Hardy captured footage of an engineer climbing onto the plane’s wing and using a screwdriver to address missing fasteners. Both Virgin Atlantic and Airbus stressed that despite the absence of installations, there had been no compromise on the safety of the aircraft.
Virgin Atlantic claimed that it was not at risk at any time
A Virgin representative told local media that the decision to cancel the flight was taken to allow time for additional precautionary engineering maintenance checks. This ensured that the team had ample time to complete inspections, while prioritizing the safety of customers and crew.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority and at no time has this been compromised,” the representative said in the statement. “We always operate above and beyond industry safety standards and the aircraft is now back in service.”
Virgin Atlantic has confirmed that it continues to adhere to safety standards that exceed industry standards, and the aircraft is now back in service.
Neil Firth, Airbus’ local chief wing engineer for the A330, explained that the damaged panel was a secondary structure designed to enhance the aircraft’s aerodynamics. Each panel contains 119 fasteners, and the missing elements did not affect the structural integrity or loading capacity of the wing.
As a precaution, the aircraft underwent an additional maintenance inspection, and the missing stabilizers were replaced. Phil Hardy and his partner Magdalena Popusia eventually arrived at their destination in New York City after being rebooked on another flight.
(tags for translation) Virgin Atlantic