Fact Check

Airport Worker Destroys Jet After Getting Fired

A video of an excavator destroying a plane was circulated along with the claim that the act was carried out by a disgruntled employee.

Published April 27, 2016

A video shows an airport worker destroying a plane after they were fired.
What's True

A video shows a plane being destroyed by an excavator.

What's Undetermined

Whether the act was carried out by a disgruntled employee.

A video purportedly showing a recently fired airport worker destroying an airplane started circulating online in April 2016, after it was posted to the Geek World YouTube page:

After getting his walking papers and airplane technician uses heavy machinery to rip up a multi-million dollar jet.

The video was picked up by several media outlets, such as The Mirror and The SunWhile these publications presented the video with some skepticism, they all ran with sensational titles, claiming that it showed a disgruntled employee destroying a plane.

While the video does feature real footage, there's no evidence that the plane was destroyed in an act of revenge. In fact, it was circulated with a different backstory when it was published to LiveLeak in February 2015:

Pilot owed some money to tractor driver.

While we have not been able to locate the source footage of the above-displayed video, the incident depicted closely resembles the act of an airplane being scrapped in a junkyard:

It's likely that the destruction of this plane was a company decision, not a rash act of violence. In fact, a 2015 article in the Moscow Times reported that Russian airline UTair was experiencing financial troubles, and had decided to get rid of nearly half of its planes as a result:

UTair, Russia's third-largest airline, has cut 44 planes from its 115-strong fleet to cope with falling demand and spiraling leasing costs brought on by Russia's economic slump, the company said Thursday.

The move is part of a sweeping cost-cutting program and will save the airline $100 million in leasing fees this year, UTair said in a press release.

UT Air told us in a statement that they were not responsible for the destruction of the plane. The airline identified the aircraft as a Yak-40 and said that they haven't used those planes since 2013:

UTair Aviation has not been an operator of the Yak-40 aircraft type for about 3 years. In 2013, upon termination of the lease agreement, aircraft of this type were decommissioned from the airline’s fleet and returned to the owner. UTair is not aware of the further fate of these aircraft.

The claim that this video shows a disgruntled worker trashing a plane was likely invented in an effort to gain more views on YouTube. The most probable actual explanation is that the video shows what a former UTair Yak-40 getting scrapped.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

Article Tags