WASHINGTON — U.S. investigators have determined that the crew of an ITA Airways Airbus A330-200 miscalculated the available space while taxiing past a parked Air France Boeing 777-200ER at New York JFK Airport, resulting in a collision between the two aircraft. 

Despite both jets sustaining damage, the ITA A330 proceeded to take off.

The incident took place in darkness on June 17 last year, with the Air France 777 waiting for a tractor tow to Terminal 1. The ITA A330 passed behind the 777 as the tractor arrived, causing the crew of the 777 to feel the aircraft move but remain unaware of the passing A330. Ground personnel later discovered substantial damage to the 777's right-hand elevator caused by the A330's left-hand winglet.

The 777's captain attempted to stop the ITA aircraft, but the conversation with the ground controller was lengthy, and the A330 took off before its crew was informed of the collision. The ITA cockpit crew, consisting of a captain, a pilot undergoing supervised line training, and a safety pilot, reported that they were cleared to taxi to runway 31L and did not notice anything unusual while passing the 777.

During their initial climb, the ITA crew received a message about an Air France aircraft reporting a collision with an "Alitalia flight." The ITA pilots conducted flight checks and communicated with the airline control center but found no abnormalities. They decided to continue the flight to Rome Fiumicino, where an external inspection revealed abrasion on the A330's left-hand winglet.

The investigators concluded that the ITA A330 crew's misjudgment of the separation distance behind the 777 led to the accident. No injuries were reported on either aircraft.