Burning Tow Truck At Frankfurt Airport Destroys Lufthansa Airbus A340 It Had ‘On The Hook’


While towing a Lufthansa Airbus A340 at Frankfurt Airport, a tow truck somehow caught fire and ended up severely damaging the aircraft above.

The Lufthansa Airbus that just recently back from a maintenance cycle has been damaged to a degree that renders it unusable for the foreseeable future (if not forever considering the age of the aircraft and the prospective expense to repair the damage).

A fire at an airport is always a scary thing and so it didn’t take long for the large smoke column to be noticed by passengers at Frankfurt Airport who saw flames and smoke engulfing the front section of the A340.

The plane was delivered to Lufthansa 18 years ago in 2000 and is therefore of significant age (though age alone doesn’t necessarily say a lot about an aircraft if it’s well maintained which is usually not a problem with Lufthansa as the carrier has a stellar reputation in that area).

Bloomberg (access here) also reported about it.

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.

You can access details about the “Dorsten” D-AIFA A340 from Flightradar here.


Unfortunately this fire likely brought the life of the aircraft to a premature end. Lufthansa still has plenty of other A340 aircraft in operation, some of which have been delivered in 1996 (check the database of Lufthansa planes from Lufthansa Taufnahmen to see more).

The insurance won’t be happy about this incident which will end up costing them a pretty penny when everything is said and done.