A Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 escaped with almost no damage after the tug pushing the aircraft caught fire. The incident occurred on January 2nd at Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The flight was only delayed by one hour and a half.
The aircraft, registered D-ABYP, was about to operate flight LH 511 from Buenos Aires, Argentina, back to Frankfurt, Germany, when the pushback tug caught fire. Video and photos surfaced online showing how close the tug and plane were to the main airport terminal. At this stage, no one appears to have been treated for any injuries.
The incident was brought under control quickly, and the flight took off successfully at 19:34 local time, just an hour and a half later than scheduled. The rest of the flight seems to have gone smoothly, and the plane landed in Frankfurt one hour and twenty minutes behind schedule at 12:32 local time on Sunday 3rd.
Although this incident doesn’t seem to be very serious and caused more frustration than actual damage, tug fires are not uncommon and can cause injury to people and damage to planes. Lufthansa had a similar incident in 2018 when a tug pushing an A380 caught fire. The plane itself sustained damage to the nose and undercarriage, and ten people were treated for smoke inhalation. The plane was not carrying passengers at the time.
As airlines and airports move away from diesel-powered tow tractors, we should see tug fires become less frequent. Lufthansa’s home airport Frankfurt has taken to using eTugs, which are not only more eco-friendly but should minimize incidents like these.