How many people does it take to push a commercial airplane? Well, we now have a rough idea thanks to this incident in Indonesia.
Today, photos circulated online showing around 20 people pushing a jet operated by national carrier Garuda Indonesia on an airport runway. Netizens on social media speculated that the plane had to be manually pushed back after it had broken down.
Garuda didorong.. pic.twitter.com/vB4ricYQb6
— AR (@ngabdul) February 8, 2018
Garuda Indonesia’s senior manager for Public Relations Ikhsan Rosan confirmed the authenticity of the photo, but denied that the jet had to be manually pushed back because it had broken down.
“The incident occurred today at Tambolaka Airport [in Southwest Sumba Regency, East Nusa Tenggara],” Ikhsan said as quoted by Detik today.
“After the plane landed, it should have turned left towards the apron. The plane missed [the turn] slightly.”
Ikhsan added that the airport was ill-equipped at the time to push the plane back with the aid of machines.
“There was no pushback [tractor] available, which is the thing that pushes and tugs airplanes back. So it was pushed by technicians and employees at the airport,” he said.
The plane eventually reached the apron without further incident.
Garuda flies to Tambolaka from Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport, utilizing their Bombardier CRJ1000 jet. The CRJ1000 has a maximum landing weight of 81,500 lb, so we can imagine manually pushing it back can be quite a back-breaking ordeal.