Northern Ireland

Belfast Airport de-icer plane crash to be investigated

Easyjet plane, file pic Image copyright PA
Image caption The flight affected was the delayed Easyjet 14:45 Amsterdam service

An investigation is to be launched after a de-icing vehicle crashed into an Easyjet plane at Belfast International Airport.

It happened at about 16:00 GMT on Sunday while the Belfast-to-Amsterdam flight was waiting to take off.

Passengers were on board the already-delayed flight while waiting for the aircraft to be de-iced.

Alan Whiteside, operations director at the airport, said the flight was cancelled due to damage to the plane.

Image copyright Shauneen Cunningham
Image caption The collision happened at Belfast International Airport on Sunday

He told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme that de-icing takes place "in very close proximity" to the aircraft - with one member of staff driving the vehicle and another applying the de-icer.

"Unfortunately, on this occasion, it came into contact with the plane," he said. "It doesn't take much to damage an aircraft.

"Any damage at all will be of concern to the engineers and they will err on the side of caution."

Mr Whiteside said there was "never any danger to the passengers or any crew".

An Easyjet spokesperson said the safety and wellbeing of passengers and crew was always the carrier's highest priority.

Image copyright Shauneen Cunningham
Image caption Passengers were on board the flight waiting for the aircraft to be de-iced when the incident happened

"The captain kept the passengers informed and they were given the option of being rebooked onto the next available flight, or obtain a refund," said the spokesperson.

Passengers were offered meals and hotel accommodation if required, and the company has apologised for any inconvenience caused.

More on this story