Delta Airbus A330 Returns To Amsterdam Over Bird Strike

A Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-300 returned to Amsterdam on July 26 after suffering a bird strike as it was just preparing for the Atlantic Ocean crossing. The incident occurred while the 16.8-year-old former Northwest Airlines widebody was performing Delta flight number DL-73 from Amsterdam to Atlanta.

Delta A330 plane
The Delta A330 was a couple of hundred miles from Glasgow when it decided to return to Amsterdam.Photo: Getty Images

The aircraft, with registration number N805NW took off from Schiphol Airports’ runway 24 at 14:45. It was en route to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). The plane then climbed to a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet before leveling off. According to The Aviation Herald, when jet was about to start its Atlantic crossing around 230 nautical miles northwest of Glasgow, Scotland, the crew decided to turn around and return to Amsterdam.

Suspected right engine bird strike

The incident happened due to a suspected bird strike in the right-hand side Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engine. The aircraft landed safely back in Amsterdam on runway 18R and was met by emergency services who inspected the engine before allowing the plane to taxi back to the apron. After canceling the flight, Delta kept the aircraft on the ground in Amsterdam for 20 hours before repositioning back to Atlanta as Delta Air Lines flight number DL-9930 on July 27.

Cargo is king

Passengers might not be flying between the United States and Europe these days amid the pandemic. However, airlines are still flying transatlantic routes. While the passengers may be gone, airlines have taken advantage of the problem by transporting more cargo.

If you look at an aircraft such as a Boeing 777 or an Airbus A330 and cut it in half lengthways, you would see that the upper half of the plane is for passengers and the lower half for cargo.

Delta Airbus A330 Returns To Amsterdam Over Bird Strike
Cargo nets cover boxes being carried in the passenger cabin. Photo: Getty Images

Some airlines have even removed the seats from where passengers used to sit so that they can transport more goods. Meanwhile, others have kept the seats in place. They are hoping that bans and quarantines will be lifted soon. Many airlines that have not removed the seats are still utilizing the space to carry boxes of merchandise that they can lay across the seats.

Why the plane returned to Amsterdam

The telling tale that Delta flight number DL-73  was carrying cargo was that after reporting a possible bird strike, it opted to return to Amsterdam rather than land at the much nearer Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK). The reason aircraft will do this is because they want to get back to the airport of departure. This was where the cargo was loaded and would give the shipper the option of having the cargo offloaded and put on another plane. 

Delta Airbus A330 Returns To Amsterdam Over Bird Strike
The plane was just about to begin its Atlantic crossing and decided to turn around. Image Flightradar24

A similar thing happened on July 4 when a United Airlines 787-10 reported airframe issues while over Ireland and decided to return to Amsterdam rather than land in Dublin. As for the bird strike, no news has been forthcoming, but Simple Flying has contacted Delta for more details

Have you ever been on a plane that suffered a bird strike? If so, please tell us all about it in the comments.