An Air Europa Boeing 737-800 was performing flight number UX-1026 from Paris to Madrid on Monday, August 17, when it had to return to the French capital due to a possible bird strike. The just over two-year-old aircraft registration number EC-MXM was climbing out of Paris Orly Airport’s (ORY) runway 24 when the crew reported that they had suffered a possible bird strike.
Wishing to continue with the flight to Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport (MAD), the pilots asked for a runway inspection believing that birds had hit the aircraft’s landing gear. The subsequent investigation by workers on the ground revealed two dead pigeons on the runway.
The plane returned to Paris Orly
As the aircraft climbed through 12,000 feet, the pilots reported that the left hand CFM International CFM56 engine was not performing correctly. The crew reduced the engine to idle and returned to Paris Orly landing safely on runway 25, some 25 minutes after having taken off.
According to The Aviation Herald, the Air Europa Boeing remained on the ground in Paris for around 21 hours before returning to Madrid. Once back in the Spanish capital, the plane spent another 22 hours on the ground before returning to service. Nothing has been said about whether or not the engine trouble was down to a bird strike, but Simple Flying reached out to Air Europa for further information.
About Air Europa
Headquartered at Llucmajor, Mallorca, Air Europa is the third largest Spanish airline after Iberia and low-cost carrier Vueling. With its central hub at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport, Air Europa operates domestic, medium and long-haul flights to more than 44 destinations around Spain, Europe, North Africa, South America, North America, and the Caribbean.
IAG is buying Air Europa
In November of 2019, the SkyTeam alliance member announced that it was being purchased by British Airways and Iberia owner, the International Airlines Group (IAG). Despite the global downturn in passenger traffic brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, IAG announced on Monday that they were pushing ahead with the deal. Outgoing IAG CEO Willie Walsh remains bullish on the acquisition and hopes to have it completed by the end of the year.
Despite the current uncertain climate in which many airlines may eventually fail, Walsh said at IAGs half-year briefing that Air Europa was in a strong position and would survive the current crisis.
IAG wants to make Madrid a major hub
One of IAG’s prime reasons for buying Air Europa is its plan to turn Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport into a major hub linking South America to Europe and beyond. Air Europa is already based in Madrid and has strong links to Latin and South America. Therefore, the airline fits in well with IAG’s plan.
The Air Europa fleet
According to aviation enthusiast website Planespotters.net, the current Air Europa fleet is comprised of the following aircraft:
5 Airbus Airbus A330-200s
1 Airbus A330-300
20 Boeing 737-800s
8 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners
9 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners
11 Embraer ERJ-195s
What do you think about IAG’s plan to continue with its purchase of Air Europa and its goal of turning Madrid into a major European hub? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.