Spirit: New Year's Eve fender-bender caused by ATC error

11:50 AM, Jan 3, 2013   |    comments
  • Damage to a US Airways Airbus 320 in Ft. Lauderdale
  • Damage to a US Airways Airbus 320 in Ft. Lauderdale
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(USA Today) -- Spirit Airlines says a New Year's Eve fender bender involving a parked US Airways plane was caused by an air traffic control error.

The airline issued a statement saying that air traffic control at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport did not alert the pilot that the US Airways plane was parked nearby.

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Spirit Flight 403 landed on the night of Dec. 31 with 167 passengers on board. After landing, air traffic control instructed the pilot of the Airbus A320 to taxi on taxiway T.

The airline said in its statement:

"While taxiing, the Spirit Airbus A320 made contact with a parked US Airways A320 aircraft. Spirit was not advised by air traffic control of the presence of the other aircraft. As part of Spirit's investigation, Spirit has been informed by officials that the control tower had also not been advised that the other A320 was parked in such close proximity to an active taxiway."

Spirit has been in touch with the National Transportation Safety Board about the incident. The NTSB will not investigate the accident "given the minor nature of the incident," the airline said.

The Spirit passengers deplaned at the gate as normal. No one was injured.

Spirit's aircraft was returned to service within hours following minor repairs.

US Airways is continuing to investigate the incident, according to CNN.

According to CNN, radio calls captured by the website LiveATC.net show the Spirit pilot warned ground control about limited space to maneuver.

"You might want to send guys around the other way, it's really tight here in Cactus Park," he said using "Cactus" the US Airways radio call sign.

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