A UNI Air ATR 72-600 had to return to Taipei’s Songshan Airport today after two of its tires burst. The aircraft had reached its destination when the pilots noticed an issue with one set of the landing gear tires. Due to this fault, the aircraft returned to Songshan Airport and landed safely.
According to Taiwan News, the incident occurred on a routine domestic flight from Taipei to Matsu’s Nangang Airport on Monday (10th May). The aircraft departed at nearly 09:30 AM local time and began the 55-minute journey to the island of Matsu.
The flight itself was smooth, with reportedly no issues noticed during the entire cruise. However, when the pilots began their approach to Nangang Airport, they noticed that the tires on the right landing gear had suffered some damage.
The pilots decided to return to Taipei for an emergency landing due to the burst tires. The aircraft made a quick turn back to Songshan Airport and flew a few rotations over the airport before finally landing. Air Traffic Control was quickly informed and deployed fire trucks in case of any incidents while landing.
Despite some surprising visuals, the aircraft landed safely and no injuries were reported. The burst did cause the aircraft to wobble slightly upon touchdown, and there was visible smoke from the affected side, but the plane came to a stop quickly and safely. A video of the landing and images of the aircraft can be found below.
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The aircraft involved in the incident was a UNI Air ATR 72-600. Registered B-17010, the plane was delivered new in May 2014 to the carrier, according to Planespotters.net. The airline currently operates 12 other ATRs and two A321s, making up a fleet of 15 planes.
Many may have noticed that UNI Air shares a similar livery to the popular Taiwanese airlines EVA Air. This is because both carriers are owned by the Evergreen Group and are sister airlines. This means they share many similar characteristics.
UNI Air primarily files to domestic destinations, secondary destinations in mainland China, and a few other international destinations. Most others routes are served by the mainline EVA Air.
The landing of the ATR 72 caused disruption to operations at Songshan Airport, Taipei’s second airport that primarily serves domestic routes. Since the airport only has one active runway, the aircraft had to be cleared and the runway searched for debris.
According to sources, the airport is closed for the day and will not reopen until tomorrow at 05:00 AM local time. Flights will likely either be canceled or diverted to Taoyuan Airport until the reopening. For now, expect a detailed investigation into the cause of the flat tire and the subsequent response.
Have you ever flown with UNI Air? Let us know in the comments!