Lufthansa A321neo Suffers Nose Damage Following Bird Strike

A Lufthansa Airbus A321neo found itself in a mid-air incident with a bird this weekend. Flight LH1154 from Frankfurt to Heraklion was on approach when the nose hit a bird, causing damage to the front. The flight landed safely, but the aircraft was grounded and unable to fly the return service due to the incident. Let’s find out more.

India, England, Red List
Sadly, the bird did not fare as well as the aircraft in the incident, and its location is unknown. Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying

Final

Lufthansa flight LH1554 departed Frankfurt am Main Airport at 08:09 AM local time for the 2 hours and 45 minutes hop to Heraklion on the island of Crete. The flight made its usual journey over Germany, Austria, and Croatia before entering Albania ahead of Greece. Things were smooth until an unexpected adversary met the plane before landing on Runway 27.

A few minutes before landing, a bird struck the nose of the A321neo carrying out the journey. The incident did not pose an immediate threat to the flight, and the aircraft landed safely in Heraklion Airport at 11:52 AM local time. However, the bird certainly left its mark on its enemy that morning.

The high-speed collision caused the nose to cave in, leaving a large bump at the front of the aircraft. The nose is made up of fiberglass and contains critical radar sensors, making it more vulnerable to damage at that speed. This meant the plane was unable to make the return flight to Frankfurt scheduled that day.

Back again

The aircraft involved in the incident was one of Lufthansa’s new Airbus A321neos, registered D-AIEF. The plane is less than a year old and was delivered in December 2020, according to Planespotters.net, and comes equipped with two Pratt & Whitney engines for power. Onboard, there are 215 economy seats in total, some of which are sold as European business class.

However, the plane didn’t spend too long on the ground. According to data from FlightRadar24.com, D-AIEF is on its way back to Frankfurt at the time of writing, flying as LH9921. However, this aircraft is not carrying passengers and will likely be undergoing further repairs and checks before returning to service.

Lufthansa, Airbus A321neo, Airspace Cabin
Lufthansa is a fan of the A320 family. Photo: Oliver Roesler via Lufthansa

When it was flying, D-AIEF did missions as far as Beirut, Amman, and Tel Aviv, all around or over four hours, in the Middle East. Otherwise, the jet was also flying to popular European destinations such as Mallorca, Tenerife, and Heraklion. For now, one of Lufthansa’s other A321neos or A321-200s will have to take over D-AIEF temporary absence.

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Improving

Things are looking at up at Lufthansa. Next month, the US will open its border to Europe and the rest of the world again, giving the airline unrestricted access to its biggest market (even during the pandemic). Meanwhile, the number of flights out of Munich and Frankfurt have been increased by 130 to account for travelers looking for a getaway from the winter. With liberal travel restrictions for vaccinated individuals across Europe, the market is bouncing back.

What do you think about Lufthansa’s current recovery? Let us know in the comments!

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