A Delta plane slid off an icy taxiway in Kansas City — here's what happened

tpallini@businessinsider.com (Thomas Pallini)
Delta Airbus A319

LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters

  • A Delta Air Lines aircraft slid off an icy taxiway Friday morning with its front wheel impacting the grass.
  • The aircraft was taxiing to be de-iced in preparation for departure when the incident occurred. 
  • Five commercial airline flights departed from the airport that morning, according to flight-tracking website Flight Aware, before the airport was shut down due to icy conditions. 
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A Delta Air Lines aircraft at Kansas City International Airport early Friday morning slid off of a taxiway as it was preparing for departure, the company said.

A spokesperson for the airline confirmed that the aircraft was getting ready for a flight to Detroit and taxiing to an area where de-icing fluid would be applied when its front wheel slid into the grass adjacent to the taxiway.

"In preparation for departure, the nosegear of Delta flight 1114 exited the taxiway," a Delta spokesperson said. "We apologize to our customers for the delay and inconvenience and are working to re-accomodate them."

 

Freezing rain was impacting the area, the National Weather Service reported, around the time of the incident. 

Shortly after the incident, the entire airport was closed due to the icy conditions, a spokesperson for the airport said. The airport reopened later in the morning but was once again closed as the weather continued.

No injuries were reported among the 129 people on board Delta Air Lines flight 1114, who were transported back to the terminal on buses.

The aircraft involved was an Airbus A319 aircraft, one of the aircraft that Delta uses for short and medium-haul flights.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A319

Tami Chappell/ReutersIt had been first delivered to Northwest Airlines in 2000.

Northwest Airlines A319

Rebecca Cook/ReutersThe Airbus had arrived from Detroit the night prior and was planning on heading to Austin tomorrow, according to FlightRadar24 data, as its next flight.

Delta aircraft

Tami Chappell/ReutersFive other commercial flights to Dallas, Washington, Miami, Charlotte, and Phoenix operated by American Airlines and Southwest Airlines were able to depart without incident at around the same time.

American Airlines

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesIn cold winter months when precipitation occurs or ice builds up on an aircraft's service, de-icing fluid is applied to the exterior of the aircraft.

Aircraft de-ice.

Manchester/Reuters

There are two types of fluid — de-ice and anti-ice — with the former to be applied if ice is already present and the latter is icy conditions are expected in the air.

An aircraft with green or orange fluid on its fuselage indicates that it either de-ice or anti-ice fluid has been applied.

British Airways planes de-ice

Neil Hall/ReutersOn the ground, however, it's up to the airport to ensure that its surfaces are safe to use to avoid incidents such as this.

Airport de-ice taxiway.

PIERRE ALBOUY/Reuters

Similar to on the highways, ice-melting material is applied to the taxiways and runways by trucks. Aircraft cannot safely land or depart until this is done, effectively shutting down an airport. 

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