Today, a Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 freighter struck a flock of birds during takeoff at Istanbul, Turkey. The plane was heading to Almaty, Kazakhstan when the incident happened.
Damage at the front
According to Aviation24.be, the aircraft involved in the incident holds registration TC-LJN and was operating flight TK6220, which was a cargo service. Following the strike, the crew entered a holding pattern and returned back to to the departing airport. Photos of the aircraft following the event show visible damage to its nose cone.
— Aviation Safety Network (ASN) (@AviationSafety) January 3, 2021
Airline Haber adds that the captain contacted the Atatürk Airport Air Traffic Control Tower to request emergency landing permission. The plane circled through the air to discharge fuel. Following discharge, the plane made its way down to the ground. Subsequently, it was taken off the operation and moved to a hangar for maintenance.
This initial flight left Istanbul at 08:48 before landing back at 09:35. The flight then took off again at 12:27 to land at Almaty at 20:03. All times are local. According to FlightRadar24.com, this second attempt was conducted by TC-LJL.
A focus on cargo
These two jets join 39 other 777s in Turkish Airlines’ fleet. Moreover, the flag carrier of Turkey currently holds eight units of the freighter variant. Planespotters.net highlights that TC-LJN, the aircraft that suffered the damage, joined the operator in September 2018, fresh from Boeing’s facilities in Everett, Washington. TC-LJL is a little older than its sibling, having being delivered to the airline from its manufacturer in November 2017.
Turkish’s shipping operations have become more integral to the company amid the downturn in passenger activity due to the pandemic and the subsequent rise of shipping needs. Last summer, it was revealed that Turkish Cargo was handling 5% of the market and it has taken an interest in new systems to keep its services growing in the new climate.
Bird strikes are common but impactful occurrences. Just this morning, we reported that another Boeing 777 experienced a bird strike while landing in Lagos, Nigeria last week. There were also notable damages from this occurrence.
Altogether, Turkish Airlines handled today’s situation and managed to keep their services going despite the frustrating situation. Thankfully, there were no injuries to anyone following the event. Nonetheless, Turkish will be keen to keep its cargo aircraft in good condition amid the important role they currently play in the present conditions.
Simple Flying reached out to Turkish Airlines for comment about what happened during this Boeing 777F flight. We will update the article with any further announcements from the carrier.
What are your thoughts about what happened with this Turkish Airlines Boeing 777F? Have you experienced anything similar when flying over the years? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.