Delta’s Damaged Boeing 757 Is Flying Back To Atlanta

Just under a month ago we reported on a Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 incident in Ponta Delgada, Portugal. After a hard landing, the aircraft’s skin buckled, presumably due to structural damage. At the time, many commented that the aircraft was heading to a new life as beer cans, however, it appears now that it has been saved.

Delta Airlines, Boeing 757, Damaged Plane
Last month a Delta Air Lines 757 was damaged in a hard landing in Ponta Delgada. Photo: Eddie Maloney via Wikimedia

On the 19th of August, a Boeing 757 aircraft was damaged, seemingly beyond reasonable repair, in Ponta Delgada. The aircraft, belonging to Delta Air Lines, showed several instances of buckled skin in its fuselage. However, after some repairs on the island, the aircraft was ferried back to Atlanta today with no passengers on board.

What happened?

On the 18th of August, N543US departed New York’s JFK airport at one minute past midnight. The aircraft had been due to depart at 21:41, however, representing a two hour and 20-minute delay departing. 4-hours and 27-minutes after departing from New York, the aircraft arrived in Ponta Delgada.


It looked as though the Boeing 757 being used for the flight sustained a fair bit of damage while landing at Ponta Delgada airport. Photos of the incident were circulated on social media. These suggested that the aircraft’s skin buckled at the top just in front of the number two door. Additionally, the bottom of the fuselage appeared to have been damaged just behind where the nose gear is located.


Since we originally covered the story, a commenter on the Simple Flying website by the name of “J Flyer” said,

“Post-flight [the pilot] came out minutes after the landing talking about a 30 knot crosswind. I saw the damage after we deplaned, but really thought it was pre-existing cosmetic damage. I was wrong. Was definitely the worst / scariest landing I’ve ever experienced.”

Back to Atlanta

Despite many people having no hope for the aircraft, N543US has defied the odds. According to, the aircraft took off from Ponta Delgada at 17:15 this afternoon. It is being flown back across the Atlantic Ocean to Atlanta.

The repairs made to the aircraft are not immediately clear, however, more repairs will likely take place once the aircraft arrives in the US, where a team of Delta Air Lines mechanics will assess the damage.

Earlier this year, Simple Flying discovered when exactly an aircraft is written off, and when it is repaired. While an aircraft may be an insurance write off, airlines can spend a large sum getting aircraft airworthy again. Why not find out more here?

Were you surprised to see Delta’s damaged Boeing 757 has taken to the skies again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!


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Christopher Bryant

Planes have to be resilient to undergo the takeoff and landing over many years, sobit doesnt surprise me that this old Boeing 757 workhorse is repairable


Try that with the new B737max. I’m sure it will become a beer cans. Boeing no longer makes good durable planes like B757.


You don’t think the 787 is durable????


Let’s wait and see..

ogden lafaye

Another hard landing and people may die. You don’t straighten the body of a large airplane and expect it to have regained all its strength.
The plane was pushed past its maximum tolerance when landing. It is toast. Junk it.

Michael Hanninen

The aluminum that has buckled, will not be repaired. The buckled skins and bulkheads will be replaced. Back to original specs.

Gantt C

Once an aircraft has substantial structural damage….you never know what may happen. JAL 747 aft bulkhead repair comes to mind.


The JAL example was poorly repaired. If the work is done to factory specs, it will be as good as when it was done on the production line originally. On the JAL bulkhead they only used one row of rivets while the factory bulkhead had two.


Delta has the best maintenance in the industry and it doesn’t surprise me that the aircraft will be repaired.


I’m not aware of all of the economics involved in repair vs scrap on these airliners, but this was an older aircraft with lots of hours and cycles so I pretty much guessed it would be retired for parts rather than repaired. I am very happy to hear it will fly again!!

Sunny leveson-jones

Its a 757ER you can’t get them for love nor money these days and delta loves them, if it can be repaired it will be, money is functionally no object in a case like this.