An Iberia Airbus A320neo has been left grounded and damaged after a bird collided with the aircraft. We warn squeamish readers with caution when reading this story as it is somewhat graphic.
What are the details?
An Iberia Airbus A320neo (tail number EC-NFZ) was flying flight IB-3250 from Madrid to Milan (Linate Airport) in Italy when an unnoticed bump occurred during takeoff, as issued by The Aviation Herald.
It was only upon landing uneventfully 100 minutes later that, as passengers were disembarking via the stairs, that it was noticed that the aircraft had picked up a new paint job in flight. The following photos were taken by a ground staff member in Italy.
We warn readers the following photos are a little graphic:
Bird strike in partenza da Mad pic.twitter.com/9MNpjICoTL
— Andrei Sam (@andreisammy) December 25, 2019
The text above says in Italian: “Merry Christmas Ib3251 canceled”, referring to the following flight that had to be canceled due to the bird strike.
Inspecting the aircraft revealed that the nose of the plane (radome) had actually been dented by the impact, and the bird disintegrated in such a way that little remained of the creature.
The radome is a structure that protects radar equipment and is made from a material transparent to radio waves. Hence, it is rather fragile and likely the dent may have impacted some internal equipment.
The aircraft was actually damaged enough that it caused delays further on, as a replacement aircraft was required. At the time of publication, the aircraft is still on the ground in Milan.
Simple Flying reached out to the airline for a comment on this development but has yet to receive a reply.
How many Airbus A320neos does Iberia have?
The aircraft is just over a year old and was delivered to Iberia back in September. It is powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines and configured with 186 seats in a single class, with a pitch of 28 inches. There are three rows at the front of economy seats with 31 inches of pitch and the middle seat blocked out for business passengers.
Iberia is no stranger to the A320, operating 14 A320-200s, six A320s, and 11 A321s. It has also made plans to expand with orders for 12 A320neos, four A321neos and eight A321XLR aircraft ordered at the recent Paris Air Show.
This order was a part of a bigger IAG order (Iberia is part of the same group that owns British Airways, Aer Lingus and Vueling) of 14 Airbus A321XLRs. They expect deliveries to start from 2023, but at this stage, we don’t know where they will deploy the aircraft (they could be used for transatlantic travel!)
The carrier also has 14 Airbus A350s on order to replace its A340-600 aircraft of which they have 17. These aircraft will be retired in 2022.
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