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Hawaiian Airlines is Suing the FAA for $6.2 Million After an Airbus A320 Was Damaged When a Set of Airstairs Was Blown Into it By an Engine Blast From Another Plane

Hawaiian Airlines is Suing the FAA for $6.2 Million After an Airbus A320 Was Damaged When a Set of Airstairs Was Blown Into it By an Engine Blast From Another Plane

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Hawaiian Airlines has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after an Airbus A320 aircraft sustained damage to the tune of more than $6.2 million after a set of mobile airstairs was blown into it by an engine blast from another plane.

The lawsuit was filed in a California district court earlier this month, alleging that an FAA controller at Oakland Airport (OAK) gave Hawaiian Airlines maintenance personnel errant information that resulted in the damaging jet blast.

The damage wasn’t caused to a Hawaiian Airlines aircraft but rather a now-retired Alaska Airlines Airbus A320 and Alaska Airlines is seeking damages from Hawaiian Airlines to cover the cost of repairs. In turn, Hawaiian Airlines says the FAA is obligated to indemnify it for any damages it has to pay to Alaska Airlines.

The incident occurred on July 21, 2021, at around 11 pm when Hawaiian Airlines maintenance personnel went to carry out an engine run-up on an aircraft.

Unfortunately, the dedicated run-up enclosure was out of action due to construction work, so the Oakland Airport manager directed Hawaiian Airlines engineers to carry out the engine run-up in a remote taxiway where the engine blast wouldn’t cause damage to any aircraft in the vicinity.

The Hawaiian Airlines engineers arranged for a pushback tug to take the aircraft to the designated run-up area, but when they contacted the FAA ground controller for permission to move the aircraft, the controller told them to stay put and carry out the engine-up in the location they already were at.

After the engine run-up, they learnt that the jet blast had blown debris and a set of mobile airstairs into the Alaska Airlines A320, which was parked just 500 metres behind the Hawaiian Airlines aircraft.

Alaska Airlines has demanded $6,275,368 from Hawaiian Airlines for the cost of repairing the aircraft, but Hawaiian Airlines says the FAA should actually be held liable.

The complaint against the United States was filed on June 12, although the FAA is yet to respond to the lawsuit.

Last December, Alaska Airlines announced that it was seeking to acquire Hawaiian Airlines in a $1.9 billion deal that would create a single holding company with 365 aircraft and 31,200 employees.

The damaged Airbus A320 (registration: N198NV) was delivered new to Virgin America in 2016 and was nicknamed ‘Lady Boss’. The plane then joined the Alaska Airlines fleet when the Seattle-based carrier acquired Virgin America and shut down the brand.

After deciding to revert back to an all-Boeing mainline fleet, Alaska Airlines sold the aircraft to Allegiant in 2023.

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