A Qantas flight has been cancelled following a second baggage cart collision shaking the cabin, according to passengers.
The Boeing 737 aircraft was preparing to depart Darwin Airport for Perth when the crash occurred on Friday afternoon.
The incident came just days after a similar incident at Perth airport when a baggage vehicle’s breaks failed, trapping a worker beneath the plane and sparking calls from the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) to raise questions about the national carrier’s ground safety procedures.
However, Travel Weekly understands that an independent review has ruled out faulty equipment as the cause of the Perth collision, despite union claims.
A passenger who was onboard the Qantas plane when the second collision occurred told NT News that those around him felt the baggage cart strike the plane.
“The plane rocked a bit, people where like what was that, the person next to me saw it and said the baggage truck has hit the plane,” he said.
BREAKING: a second @Qantas plane has been damaged in a collision with a vehicle used to load bags – this time at Darwin Airport. This puts further into doubt safety at Qantas after it outsourced its entire ground operations #auspol pic.twitter.com/QmdqR9sOet
— TWU Australia (@TWUAus) May 28, 2021
TWU SA/NT branch secretary Ian Smith said the incident could have caused injuries to both workers and passengers.
“This is not an isolated incident, and it follows a long list of problems in Qantas’ ground operations across the country since the airline outsourced its workers,” he said.
“We are calling on all relevant workplace and aviation authorities to investigate Qantas’ operations urgently.
“Serious questions must be asked of the Qantas board and the federal government, which have stood by and allowed standards to get dragged down to the point that we have extensive damage happening to aircraft and workers and passengers narrowly escaping injury.
“The public has pumped $2 billion into Qantas since the pandemic hit, and all we have to show for it is outsourced workers and safety breaches. Both the Qantas board and the federal government must start holding senior Qantas management to account.”
In response to the union’s claims, Qantas said in a statement that the TWU did not express concerns about incidents like this before it outsourced its ground operations, adding that collisions were “twice as common” before the outsourcing.
“We had 0.8 aircraft damage events per 1,000 flights when it was done in-house, compared with 0.4 for outsourced operations,” the statement said.
“Only since the outsourcing is the TWU putting out media releases and calling for full investigations about these kind of incidents, and the travelling public deserves to be cynical about that.
“The TWU knows we fully investigate every safety incident because it’s something we take incredibly seriously.
“Their behaviour discredits the strong safety culture in Australian aviation by pointing fingers, getting the basic facts wrong and blowing things out of all proportion.”
The airline is investigating the cause of the Darwin Airport collision.