Bird forces plane to circle over coast near Bray before landing at Dublin Airport
Fire services followed the aircraft until it had completed its landing as a precaution
Birds are a common risk to planes and have been known to cause accidents when collisions occur, although serious incidents only happen with larger birds. Photograph: Getty Images
A bird forced a plane bound for New York to circle over the coast near Bray before returning to Dublin Airport.
Norwegian Airlines flight D81842 to New York reported a bird-strike during its take-off roll shortly after departing Dublin at approximately 8:36am.
The plane then flew out over Galway before returning to the east coast, where it entered a holding pattern for around three hours in order to burn off fuel before attempting a landing.
Siobhán O’Donnell, from Dublin Airport Authority, confirmed that the incident took place, and also confirmed that the plane landed safely at around 12:20pm.
As a precaution, Airport Fire Services followed the plane until it had completed its landing.
A Norwegian Airlines spokesperson said: “Today’s flight D81842 from Dublin to New York returned safely back to Dublin Airport following a suspected bird strike. The safety and security of our passengers and crew is our highest priority and passengers have disembarked the aircraft as normal”.
Birds are a common risk to planes and have been known to cause accidents when collisions occur, although serious incidents only happen with larger birds.
Of 21,380 occurrences reported between 2011 and 2014, bird strikes were the second most common reason, only behind system failures and malfunctions.
Staff at Dublin Airport have tried numerous ways to keep birds away from the runways and reduce the number of bird strikes.
These have included a fake fox on the runway, kites with pictures of birds of prey on them, and even a small gas cannon to frighten the birds with noise.
These efforts may be paying off, as the 2016 Annual Safety Review of Aviation in Ireland did not list bird strikes in the top-three causes of reported incidents. In fact, 2016 only saw 56 bird strikes at the airport, down from around 70 the previous year.
There was a slight rise in the numbers of strikes in 2017, up to 60. However, Ms. O’Donnell insisted that these numbers are very small when the amount of air traffic going through Dublin Airport was considered.
“When you take it that we had 223,197 aircraft landings and take-offs last year so the number is small in the overall size of the planes landing and taking-off.
“That said this is an area that we take very seriously and we invest a lot of time and effort in deterring birds from nesting and flying across the airfield”.