Air India’s Attempt to Move an Old Airbus Goes Terribly Wrong as Plane Falls from a Crane

Oh, Air India. Your pilots refuse to fly unless you send them women. You fire co-pilots that have already quit. Your catering carts have rats, and you feed customers from them anyway figuring it’s your passengers that are the bigger problem anyway.

Bus gates are the bane of your existence.

So it should really come as no surprise that when it was time to retire an old Airbus A320 to a training facility, they decided to use a crane that apparently couldn’t withstand the weight of an aircraft.

In what could be termed as a freak accident, a crane carrying Air India’s defunct aircraft has crashed on the boundary wall of a private property abutting Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad on Sunday morning. The crane and the aircraft were damaged but luckily, there were no casualties in the incident.

It seems Air India had never done this before. So they discovered for the first time in real world conditions that the 200 ton crane they had selected for the job wasn’t suitable for moving a 70 ton aircraft.

“There is two to three kilometre distance from the airport hangar to the training academy. The aircraft has to be lifted to certain height and carried in the air to avoid trees and electric poles on the road,” North Zone DCP N Prakash Reddy told TOI.

The crane’s arm snapped. Here’s the video:

The plane had been parked since 2007 (remember, Air India’s bureaucracy took 10 years to change the menu on their Delhi – London flight). Perhaps it should have remained parked a little longer for a few more engineers to consult on the idea.

(HT: @blingSINGH)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I suppose it “could be termed as a freak accident”, but it’s more likely incompetence.

    It’s scary to think this country has a nuclear arsenal.

  2. This is what you can expect from a group of people that are cheap. I used to sell cars and they (the entire families) would come in just to eat the free cookies that were their for our customers which 9 times out of 10 they werent. They would only stay long enough to get a price so they could take it to another dealership and basically be dead weight as customers as they took more time to deal with and would leave no room for profit to provide better service. Salesmen have to eat too but they didn’t care. I’m not surprised at all of the airlines dysfunction.

  3. @Derrick – Don’t you have any better way to compare?
    And of all the examples, car sales men talking about others’ cheapness. Oh well!

  4. @ Derrick. My experience with car sales people has universally been negative.

    Could it be true that YOU people (you started the generalization sir) are a bunch of shady, selfish narcissists, who would sell your grandmas a lemon to make $50?

    Have a good one, and good luck with the bigotry.

  5. @Arcanum, It is scary that a country has nukes, has used it, but preaches and coerces others not to have one. Not just that, in certain instances, it is willing to go distance to bully and bomb those who do not comply.

  6. 200 ton crane for a STATIC load. I’m sure the crane wasn’t specced (or underspecced) for a live load.

  7. The 200 ton crane rating most likely only applied with the outriggers out and the crane stationary . Even then the rated load varies depending on the boom angle with 80 degrees usually considered optimum . In the video the lattice boom failed due to side loading . They are designed and rated for vertical loading only . The operator should have removed sections to shorten the boom and used tag lines to dampen the swing of the load . The adage “hindsight is 20/20” definitely applies . I’ve broken a few things myself ( nothing so big )

  8. Unbelievable incompentence. A plane is a frigging sail with those wings – slightest breeze would cause the center of gravity to dangerously shift and overload the boom…

    You could see the plane shift and create an eccentric load on the boom before it collapsed – amazing nobody was killed. Too bad the Crane’s owners weren’t under that plane – they are a menace.

  9. @raja: I would never defend US foreign policy (not American myself, BTW), but at the same time:

    1. You could also say the Americans have gone longer without using nuclear weapons than any other nation.

    2. The US only used nukes in the context of ending the biggest war in history, saving hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides compared to the alternative of an invasion of the Home Islands.

    3. I would absolutely put more trust in the US keeping their nukes secure and out of trouble than the Indians (or even worse, the Pakistanis). The US government can be a bit nuts sometimes, but at least they tend not to have fistfights in parliament and military coups every decade or so like the subcontinent. I actually consider Pakistan to be a far more likely source of an eventual nuclear attack on the US than North Korea.

  10. Car salesmen are cheap? Lol. Every one acts like when they go in to a car dealership they don’t want to haggle but everyone goes in to a car dealership and tries to haggle. People can choose not to haggle. And then it’s the salesmen fault. Irony. The only reason I can make the generalization about indians is because I lived it. I did not go in to sales thinking it. After starting out thinking every customer was an opportunity I had to learn the hard way. All the salesmen would become “busy” when indians would show up so id happily take them on and they are all in I.T. Yes generalizations but everyone of the Indians I test drove happened to be in IT and wasted copious amounts of time trying to haggle on a prestige brand product (not ford or volvo) expecting the dealership to lose money on a sale. Even the Indian salesmen would always become “busy” when Indians drove up. So you can get mad if you want but truth is eternal. -Truth

  11. Oh, dear…yet another situation in which I feel the overwhelming need to apologize to the world on behalf of all Americans. I hope you understand that we are not all as arrogant as Derrick the Car Guy and a great many of us do not have such limited existences to believe we can generalize statements to quantify “All Indians” due to having worked with so many of your 1.3 BILLION inhabitants in the first place. He is clearly an intolerant and very bigoted individual not representative of the true American ideal.

    Having been a sales manager for quite some time in my past, I can (with a level of certainty equal to Derrick the Car Guy’s at least) that ALL salesmen who make such complaints about any customer’s haggling over price, is in reality explaining why he didn’t meet sales goals, couldn’t sell anything that wasn’t at the lowball minimum price allowed and isn’t even smart enough to realize that if 1.7 BILLION Indians were “all” in I.T. then I could get someone to fix my hard drive in about 0.2 seconds.

    Yes, my name is Mikeal, but please think of me as….

    Embarrassed to be American

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