An Aer Lingus Airbus A330 flight due to collect medical aid from Beijing was cut short earlier today. The aircraft suffered a bird strike climbing out of Dublin Airport, and had to return to its origin.
Airlines across the world have been showcasing their efforts to turn passenger aircraft into DIY freighters. The aircraft have been loaded from floor to overhead bin with medical supplies, including facemasks and aprons. Yesterday, Aer Lingus operated its first such flight from Beijing. A spanner, or rather a pigeon, was thrown in the works for a subsequent flight due to operate this morning.
Bird strike on departure
Today’s aid flight departed from Dublin Airport at 12:00 local time (11:00 UTC). Unfortunately, a bird strike on departure meant the flight could not continue.
The aircraft initially paused its climb at around 1,200 feet for a minute, according to data from FlightRadar24.com. It then continued to climb up to a maximum height of 2,300 feet and turned to return to the airport.
The aircraft, EI-DUZ, took off from Runway 28 and landed in the opposite direction on Runway 10. According to data from Planespotters, the aircraft involved is 12.9 years old. It was delivered to Aer Lingus new in June 2007. The Irish flag carrier recently took delivery of the last non-neo Airbus A330.
An Aer Lingus spokesperson told Simple Flying:
Following a bird strike earlier today, EI9018 travelling from Dublin to Beijing was required to turn back to Dublin. The flight is rescheduled to depart for Beijing at 17.00 local time today.
As a result of the bird strike, the flight to Beijing faced a significant delay. Thankfully no compensation was due as the flight was operating empty. A replacement aircraft, EI-GAJ, departed from Dublin for the mission at 17:18 local time (16:18 UTC). It is currently flying over Denmark, expected to land at 10:56 at the time of writing.
Boxes in the place of passengers
A number of airlines have been replacing passengers with boxes in order to bring urgently needed medical aid to the west. One of the first examples was Lufthansa flying an Airbus A330 from Shanghai to Frankfurt.
Other notable efforts include those of airBaltic and Wizz Air. airBaltic flew an Airbus A220 for almost 7-hours to bring aid from Urumqi to Riga. Meanwhile, low-cost carrier Wizz Air flew one of its Airbus A321neos over 9,000 miles in order to carry aid from Shanghai to Budapest.
However, Aer Lingus’ first flight to Beijing to collect aid was also notable. It was the first time that the carrier had flown to the capital of China, and clearly not the last, at least three other such flights appear to have been operated by the Irish flag carrier since.
What do you make of the bird strike? Are you glad airlines are prioritizing transporting medical aid around the globe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.