An EgyptAir flight heading into Heathrow from Cairo, Egypt, was struck by a bird, leaving the passenger plane nose severely damaged with bloodstains. The aircraft had 71 passengers on board and despite the incident, the plane landed safely at the airport.
Amir Hashim, a Senior Procurement Specialist at Egyptair took to his Facebook to post images of the damaged plane that revealed a huge hole in the passenger plane's nose. "Egyptair 737-866...operating yesterday evening's MS779 arrival suffered a bird strike on approach. The damage caused is clearly evident and SU-GDZ will be grounded until a new radome is fitted. Now, who has a spare?" asked Hashim.
The plane was reportedly grounded for 21 hours while a replacement nose was searched for and located. According to some reports, the hole in the plane was estimated to be 60 centimetres in diameter. The plane made its return flight to Cairo but remains commercially grounded there, according to an ABC News report.
In 2013, a bird strike forced British Airways flight BA762 into an emergency landing soon after taking off from Heathrow Airport. Runways were also closed at the airport while 75 passengers on board were safely evacuated.
The plane had reportedly flown in a flock of birds. Jonathan Charles, a passenger who was at the airport at the time, tweeted: "Stuck at Heathrow airport on BA plane, both runways closed. A plane lost an engine on take-off, emergency landed with 2nd engine on fire."
Bird strikes pose a significant risk to the plane safety, particularly when the collision involves a bird and the windscreen or engine of the plane. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), bird strikes cost the US aviation an estimated $400m (£280m) annually. Usually the costs involved include direct repair expenses and the revenue lost while the plane remains commercially grounded.