A Volotea Boeing 717-200 performing flight number V7-172 from Pantelleria Airport (PNL) to Milan Bergamo Airport (BGY) had to reject takeoff after having suffered a bird strike. The incident happened on the tiny Italian island of Pantelleria on July 26 at 08:35. The rear twin-engined aircraft was attempting to take off with 95 people on board.
According to The Aviation Herald, the jet was accelerating for takeoff on Pantelleria’s runway 26 when the bird strike occurred, followed by a failure of the right-hand airspeed indicator. The pilots quickly slowed the plane down while bursting a tire before. They then came to a stop well sort of the end of the runway. After a brief inspection by the emergency services, the aircraft returned to the apron without further incident.
The right side engine ingested a bird
A post-flight inspection of the 717 implies a bird had hit the right hand (First Officers) pitot tube. Pantelleria Emergency services also reported that a large bird had been ingested by one of the planes Rolls-Royce BR715 engines.
After repairs were completed, the aircraft returned to service some ten hours later. The passengers were looked after at Pantelleria Airport and offered compensation for their inconvenience. Meanwhile, Volotea organized a replacement aircraft for their journey to northern Italy.
Italian website BlogSicilia quotes a Volotea spokesperson with saying the following about the incident:
“Following the highest safety standards, an inspection of the aircraft was initiated, providing information and assistance to the passengers involved to keep delays as low as possible.”
The carrier also said,
“…that it is an airline certified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and has recently obtained the IOSA certification renewal. The IATA Operational Safety Audit Program (IOSA) is an internationally recognized and accepted assessment system designed to evaluate the operating and control operating systems of airlines, through compliance with approximately 940 requirements and procedures.”
Volotea was also keen to apologize to the passengers for the inconvenience they suffered due to the bird strike.
Volotea is a low-cost Spanish airline based in Asturias, operating short-haul flights in southern Europe and around the Mediterranean. The name “Volotea” originates from the Spanish verb “revolotear,” which means to fly around.
Volotea is also the only European operator of the Boeing 717 with 14 of this type of aircraft in its fleet. Volotea also operates 20 Airbus A319-100s that have an average age of 16-years. In the coming years, Volotea plans to replace the Boeing 717s for Airbus family aircraft to operate an all-airbus fleet.
Little more than a tiny black speck in the sea between Scilly and Tunisia, Pantelleria is a sparsely populated volcanic outcrop that doesn’t even have a beach. The 32 kilometers square island is like the St Barts of the Mediterranean. It is favored by people looking for a place to escape the crowds and stay out of the paparazzi’s flashing bulbs,
It seems odd that Volotea can make money flying to such a remote location, but as the 95 passengers on flight V7-172 show, there is a market for the island.
Have you ever been on a plane that had to abort takeoff because of a bird strike? If so, we would love to hear all about it in the comments.