Re: Huge capacity aircraft and accidents

From:         sandee@Think.COM (Daan Sandee)
Organization: TMC
Date:         07 Oct 93 00:54:22 PDT
References:   1 2
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In article <airliners.1993.619@ohare.Chicago.COM>, spagiola@FRI-nxt-Pagiola.Stanford.EDU (Stefano Pagiola) writes:
|> Stephen J. Okay writes
|> > >Would an airline be able to survive a crash that killed 600 of its
|> > >customers? What sort of insurance prospects would an airline with 
|> > >such aircraft face?
|> > 
|> > Well, it wasn't exactly 600 dead, but quite a few were killed in
|> > the Tenerife accident in 197(6?) when 2 747s collided. Both of
|> > those airlines are still around I believe.( I forget exactly who
|> > they were...Lufthansa and somebody else?)
|> KLM and Pan Am.

The KLM 747 was under charter.
In fog, a KLM 747 at the end of its takeoff roll hit a Pan Am 747
backtracking the same runway after landing. The Pan Am plane saw it coming
and veered slightly left, and 30-40 people in its forward section survived.
The total death toll was 560 or so.
The blame was mainly put on the KLM captain for taking off without clear
instructions, and also on (Spanish) ATC incompetence.
I don't know how much KLM (or the charter company) paid. Pan Am probably
didn't have to pay, they may have got the money for their plane back from
KLM. Seventeen years later, KLM is still around, while Pan Am is not.
(Pan Am probably did a brisk business flying planeloads of tort lawyers
to Tenerife.)

|> Back to the original question, Japan Air Lines lost one of their  
|> high-density 747s used on internal Japanese routes in 1985, killing  
|> about 500+ in one go, if memory serves.

Right. In this case the cause was determined to be faulty repair work
from an earlier accident. Probably Boeing was mostly to blame rather
than JAL.

Daan Sandee                                 
Thinking Machines Corporation
1010 El Camino Real, Suite 310
Menlo Park, CA 94025                                  (415) 329-9300