Two PIA A320s Suffer Birdstrike Incidents At Karachi

Pakistan International Airlines, or PIA for short, has faced two birdstrike incidents in Karachi just one day apart from each other. Two different Airbus A320 aircraft, in two different incidents, struck birds near Karachi. Thankfully, in both incidents, the airline reported no injuries to passengers or crew. Damage to the planes, however, is a different story. These two incidents come after a PIA A320 encountered a swarm of locusts during a flight.

Pakistan International Airlines
Two PIA Airbus A320 aircraft were involved in birdstrike incidents in Karachi. Photo: Muhammad Saad via Wikimedia Commons

First PIA Birdstrike incident

On December 12, 2019, a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320, AP-BLA, was flying into Karachi. As PK301 from Islamabad approached Karachi’s 07R, a bird impacted the right-hand wing. It appears that parts of the bird became lodged into the slats according to reporting from the Aviation Herald.

After five hours on the ground, the PIA A320 returned to service. Interestingly enough, the aircraft involved in this incident was painted in PIA’s retro livery.

PIA Retrojet
The aircraft involved in this incident, AP-BLA, was a retrojet A320. Photo: Asuspine via Wikimedia Commons

Another PIA birdstrike… the day before

On December 11, 2019, another Airbus A320, registered as AP-BMX, suffered a birdstrike in Karachi. PK304 from Karachi to Lahore had just taken off from Karachi’s runway 25R when the aircraft suffered a birdstrike. Per the Aviation Herald, the engine of the right-hand side ingested a bird and forced the crew to level out at 6000feet before returning to Karachi.

Pakistan International Airlines A320
Another Pakistan International Airlines A320 struck a bird while departing Karachi on December 11, 2019. Photo: Alec Wilson via Flickr

The aircraft was pulled out of service and apparently received several dents in the fan blades. A new aircraft had to be sourced to complete the flight. In the end, passengers reached Lahore with a five-hour delay. A local news outlet reported the incident and shows some footage of the damaged engine blades:

کراچی سے لاہور پی آئی اے کی پرواز پی کے 304 حادثے سے بچ گئی

کراچی سے لاہور پی آئی اے کی پرواز پی کے 304 حادثے سے بچ گئی — طیارے کے اڑان بھرنے کے کچھ دیر بعد ہی انجن سے پرندا ٹکرا گیا — انجن کو نقصان، کپتان نے پرواز کو واپس کراچی ایئر پورٹ اتارلیا#ARYNews

Posted by ARY News on Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Pakistan International Airlines responds

The airline has taken a loss amid both of these incidents. In a report to Aaj News, a Pakistan International Airlines spokesperson claimed that the second incident will cause a $5 million hit to the carrier. However, it is unclear exactly how PIA reached that figure.

PIA A330 at Faisalabad
Pakistan International Airlines claimed the first bird strike will cost the airline $5 million. Photo: Aasif Azaan via Wikimedia Commons

Pakistan’s flag-carrier decided to take its grievances to Twitter. The airline issued the following statement on Twitter:

It is unclear exactly if anyone is purposely introducing birds into this flight path, however, if it is the case, then this would be a serious offense that could cause grave injury. One of the most famous cases of a birdstrike involved US Airways Flight 1549 which had to ditch into the Hudson River after a birdstrike post-takeoff from LaGuardia.

Were you on any of these PIA flights? What is your take on these incidents? Let us know in the comments