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B74S, Stockholm Arlanda Sweden, 1996

From SKYbrary Wiki


On 14 June 1996, a Boeing 747SP being operated by Air China on a scheduled passenger flight from Beijing to Stockholm was arriving on the designated parking gate at destination in normal daylight visibility when it collided with the airbridge. None of the 130 occupants of the aircraft suffered any injury but the aircraft was “substantially damaged” and the airbridge was “damaged”.


An Investigation was carried out by the Swedish Accident Investigation Board. It established that the aircraft had continued towards the designated parking position for the longer 747 variants which was 12 metres beyond the correct position for the shorter 747SP which has only one passenger door forward of the wing. It also established that:

  • There had been no malfunction in the docking bridge or in the docking system.
  • The handling agent had programmed the wrong aircraft version when setting the airbridge position
  • The Captain had not noticed that the wrong aircraft version was displayed on the head-of-gate information display
  • Neither the Handling Agent nor the Technician in attendance had pressed the emergency stop button upon realizing that the a collision was imminent.
  • The Captain had increased engine thrust in an attempt to continue taxiing after the initial collision between the left engine and the airbridge and the initial damage was thus made worse.
  • The safety system of the Docking Guidance System could not distinguish between the different versions of the same aircraft type.

The Investigation concluded that the accident was caused by:

“the handlng agent on the docking bridge programming the wrong aircraft version into the docking system”.

It also concluded that contributory causes were:

  • the Captain´s failure to notice that the wrong aircraft version was displayed on the information board
  • the fact that the (ground) personnel concerned lacked sufficient knowledge of all the functions of the docking and safety system.

The Final Report of the Investigation was published on 13 June 1997 and may be seen in full at SKYbrary bookshelf: Swedish Accident Investigation Board Report C 1997:20e

Two Safety Recommendations were made as a result of the Investigation, both to the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration as Airport Operator which was recommended to:

  • Ensure that all personnel concerned have full knowledge of the risks in connection with docking, of the function of the systems and of adequate actions to be taken in abnormal situations
  • Supplement the docking system so that it will be able to distinguish between different versions of the same aircraft type.

Further Reading