INCIDENT: 737-900 Smashes Winglet Into Building

By Spyros Georgilidakis | January 26, 2023

The right winglet of a 737-900 struck a building causing substantial damage, as its crew taxied out for departure. There were no injuries.

Photo: km30192002, CC BY 2.0

The incident happened on Thursday the 26th of January. It involved Lion Air flight JT-797, a domestic flight departing from Merauke Mopah International Airport (WAKK) in Indonesia. Its first destination is Jayapura Sentani Airport (WAJJ). Lion Air performs this service daily, departing from Merauke at 9:10 AM local time.

This is a three-leg flight, with the same code used for the next two legs, to Makassar Sultan Hasanuddin International (WAAA) and to Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International (WIII). Lion Air typically uses a 737-900 for this trip, but this winglet strike happened as the aircraft left its stand.

INCIDENT: 737-900 Smashes Winglet Into Building
Photo: @JacdecNew via Twitter


737-900 Hits Building with Winglet

According to local sources, the aircraft had 117 adult passengers, plus 4 children and a toddler. It was parked on stand number 5 and started moving at 9:10 AM. It is not clear if leaving this stand involves a pushback. In any case, the crew of the 737-900 then turned left, before the right winglet struck the corner of a structure near the stand.

INCIDENT: 737-900 Smashes Winglet Into Building
Photo: @JacdecNew via Twitter

Initially, the aircraft continued taxiing towards taxiway B, in order to depart using runway 34. But soon, the aircraft’s crew turned around and parked, this time at a different stand. Local authorities are already investigating the incident. The airline canceled the flight and arranged to book passengers to other flights, or issued refunds.

The aircraft in this winglet strike incident is a Boeing 737-900, with tail number PK-LFO. It is 15 years old, entering service with Lion Air, its only operator, in February 2008. It belongs to lessor Aergo Capital and has not flown again, as of this writing, as its damage is being assessed. Lion Air operates a total of 63 737-900s, plus 34 737-800s and 2 737-9s.


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