Controllers at Madrid airport are scathing about an AeroMéxico incident in April. A Boeing 767-200 (registration XA-TOJ) performing flight AM-2 from Madrid to Mexico City scraped its tail along the runway for four seconds as it took off at 14:58h (258pm).
The craft left two pieces of metal behind on the runway. This metal punctured the tyres of an Air Europa plane as it took off at 15.29hrs (329pm) bound for Caracas, Venezuela. That flight returned to Madrid (after burning fuel for four hours). That aircraft sustained no damage, apart from tyre damage on the left nose wheel.
The anger comes that the AeroMéxico crew did not report the tail strike to authorities. When they asked the pilot on the Aeroméxico flight if these could be from their craft, the response was ‘I don’t know, could be’. It was a piece of scrap metal on the runway that caused the Concorde crash in 2000 at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, killing 113 people.
The aircraft continued to climb heading north out of the Madrid area. No passenger announcements were made and air traffic control (ATC) was not notified. Passengers seated at the rear of the aircraft were concerned at the noise and subsequent lack of information. Three flight attendants seated in the rear galley advised the flight deck about the situation who made the decision to return to Madrid.
At 14,000 feet, minutes into the flight the passenger oxygen masks dropped accompanied with the standard warning: “put on your mask and breath normally”. The plane ceased its climb and rapidly descended. The passengers were advised they were returning to Madrid -with no explanation given. The crew informed ATC about cabin pressure problems 22 minutes after departure but apparently did not mention the tail strike nor any possible damage.
The 767 landed at Madrid at 16:25 (4:25om) and taxied straight to the gate where all passengers disembarked normally. They were given hotel accommodation for the night and rebooked onto other flights to Mexico City the following day. No passengers reported injuries but two of the three cabin crew in the galley complained about neck pain.
The plane sustained substantial damage to the lower fuselage including the near complete loss of both Auxiliary Power Unit compartment doors, the fuse box and extensive tyre damage.