The grotesque situation may have saved the lives of hundreds of passengers. In mid-January, a passenger on a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330, who was going to New York from Manchester, realized that several screws were missing on one wing of the aircraft. “I'm a good driver, but my partner didn't like the information I was telling her and was starting to panic. I was trying to reassure her as much as possible,” he told the Kennedy News Agency. If a technician quickly intervened to plug the fasteners, the flight in question was canceled, as a precaution, in order to “allow time for additional technical maintenance checks,” a company representative told the New York Post.
Virgin Atlantic is however clear: the absence of screws on this part of the machine does not put travelers in danger. The structure concerned was only secondary and made it possible to improve the aerodynamics of the plane. “There was therefore no impact on the integrity or load capacity of the wing, and the aircraft was able to operate safely,” explained Neil Firth, Airbus' local chief engineer. for the A330. All passengers were then taken on other flights to reach their destination. A rare thing for Airbus, this type of incident is generally more frequent at Boeing - a company where technical problems have multiplied in recent weeks.