Rabbit Strike In Germany Causes €1 Million In Boeing 737 Damages

An ETF Airways Boeing 737 has returned to service after sucking a rabbit into its engine upon landing in Bremen, Germany. The unfortunate incident has cost ETF Airways an incredible one million euros ($1,180,000). A McDonnell Douglas MD-82 and a Boeing 767 had to jump in to the rescue.

ETF Airways Boeing 737-800 Croatia
ETF Airways is a Croatian startup airline, currently operating charter flights out of Kosovo. Photo: IAC

Voyager strikes a rabbit

A Boeing 737-800, operated by Croatian startup airline ETF Airways, has struck a rabbit upon landing in Bremen Airport (BRE) two weeks ago, on Monday 2nd August. The rabbit was sucked into the engine, ETF confirmed to Simple Flying.

The aircraft was operating a short flight from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Bremen as part of a triangle route Pristina-Dortmund-Bremen-Pristina. Pristina Airport (PRN) is where this aircraft is based and from where it operates charter flights every day to the European regions rich with the Kosovar diaspora.

The 737 is called Voyager, and it is registered as 9A-LAB. It was out of service for 12 whole days due to the rabbit strike.

ETF Airways has incurred an incredible €1,000,000 ($1,180,000) in damages as a result of this incident. The breakdown of the damages is as follows:

  • €500,000 ($590,000) in aircraft repair costs
  • €400,000 ($470,000) to lease replacement aircraft
  • €100,000 ($118,000) in other expenses that include crew transport, accommodation, and overtime
ETF Airways Boeing 737
Pictured, the ETF Airways aircraft that struck the rabbit in Bremen. Photo: ETF Airways

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

MD80, B767, and A321 came to the rescue

The replacement aircraft leased to help ETF Airways maintain its contractual obligations to the tour operator on whose behalf it flies out of Pristina were an interesting mix.

A 32-year McDonnell Douglas MD-82 jumped in last week to cover a series of rotations while the Voyager Boeing 737 was still stuck in Bremen in repairs.

Another interesting jump-in was a 26-year old Surinam Airways Boeing 767-35DER that operated flights to some Scandinavian and German destinations for a short period last week.

ETF Airways has not confirmed this for us, but, presumably, the airline’s liquidity is severely affected because the expenses that the rabbit strike incurred needed to be paid immediately while the insurance companies will only re-pay these costs in the future, and potentially only partially.

Croatia Airlines Airbus Dash
ETF Airways is a Croatian startup airline but it does not compete at all with Croatia Airlines. Photo: Getty Images

What is ETF Airways?

ETF Airways is a Croatian company founded in November 2020 by a group of aviation industry professionals and former pilots. Among them is the ETF Airways CEO, Stjepan Bedić, who was a Boeing 737 pilot for SunExpress and an MD-80 pilot for Dubrovnik Airline.

The ETF in ETF Airways stands for “Enjoy The Flight.” The airline received its AOC in May 2021 in Croatia, and it is already flying every single day. Speaking to Simple Flying in June, Bedić revealed that the airline plans to start hiring more pilots because of the high demand for its services. This has already happened, with the airline taking on an Airbus A321 for its Pristina operations in July, as an addition to its fleet of two Boeing 737s.

What do you think of the fact that a rabbit strike caused one million euros in damages to ETF Airways? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.