An easyJet Airbus A320 yesterday returned to Berlin Brandenburg Airport following a bird strike. The incident is possibly the first of its type for an aircraft departing from runway 25L, as the runway was only opened yesterday morning.
While a great degree of control is exerted on the air space around airports, there is one thing that is slightly more difficult to control. Mother Nature. After all, birds don’t realize the potential impact of flying in the vicinity of jet engines. However, when a collision does happen, it can mean a precautionary return to the airport of origin. After all, we all know the story of Captain Sully
First Runway 25L diversion?
Yesterday, easyJet flight U2 5915 became possibly the first aircraft to return to Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport using runway 25L. The flight was due to head to Tenerife South Airport in the Canary Islands and typically lasts for four hours and 50 minutes.
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However, yesterday the flight got airborne at 11:08, around eight minutes behind schedule. The flight instead lasted just 33 minutes, returning to land back on runway 25L. According to the AvHerald, the diversion’s cause was a bird strike, with the publication showing a picture of a bloodied engine.
According to Planespotters.net, the aircraft was delivered to easyJet as G-EZOW in November 2015. However, in April 2018, the aircraft was registered to easyJet’s Austrian based Europe subsidiary as OE-IJN. At the time of writing, the aircraft hadn’t flown since the incident yesterday.
Brand new runway
The incident took place on what was a brand new runway. Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport only opened on Saturday following a delay of around nine years. However, the airport was opened with a slightly phased approach. That is to say, runway 25L only opened to traffic yesterday. A planned arrival on Saturday was called off because of poor weather. The runway’s instrument landing system was not yet online.
As mentioned, the easyJet departure took off at 11:08. Qatar Airways opened the runway with its landing at 09:50 that same morning. As such, the runway hadn’t even been open for one hour and 20 minutes when the bird strike occurred.
While the incident was undoubtedly bad news for the bird brought out of existence, there was a more positive outcome for the passengers. According to the AvHerald, they reached Tenerife with a delay of around three and a half hours. As mentioned, the involved aircraft still hasn’t flown since the incident. A replacement aircraft registered as OE-IVN eventually transported the passengers to their final destination.
Simple Flying has contacted easyJet for comment. This story will be updated as appropriate when a response is received.