An empty Airbus SE A340-300 long-haul aircraft owned by Deutsche Lufthansa AG was damaged on Monday morning after a tow truck maneuvering the plane around Frankfurt airport caught fire.
About 10 people were taken to the hospital after for smoke inhalation, a spokeswoman for the carrier’s Lufthansa Technik maintenance unit said. The division operates plane-towing vehicles under the Leos brand in Frankfurt.
The twin-aisle airliner was being moved at about 8 a.m. with no passengers on board in preparation to operate as Flight LH426 to Philadelphia, and must now be inspected for damage, a spokesman for Lufthansa said. A reserve plane will be used for the route instead, and the flight will leave on time as it’s an afternoon service, he said. The incident caused no delays or cancellations at the airport, said a spokesman for Fraport AG, the hub’s operator.
Pictures on social media Monday showed the tug in flames under the jetliner’s cockpit, and the area beneath the nose cone charred and covered with soot. The aircraft, registered as D-AIFA, is named after the German city of Dorsten. The plane was delivered in 2000, making it more likely to be scrapped than repaired.