Incident: Smartlynx Malta A320 birdstrike at Tallinn

A Smartlynx Airlines Airbus A320 on the taxiway.
Bene Riobó, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Reports of an engine fire indication caused by a bird strike incident after a Smartlynx A320 departed from Tallinn Airport, Estonia, have recently emerged on 1 September 2023.

Smartlynx Malta flight 6Y555 Tallin – Tivat

The aircraft involved was a 15-year-old Smartlynx Airlines Malta Airbus A320 registration 9H-SLE. At the time of the incident, the aircraft was operating flight 6Y555 (MYX-555) from Tallinn to Tivat, Montenegro.

Information gathered from the Aviation Herald states that the A320 was climbing out of Tallinn’s Runway 08 when the crew stopped the climb at about 2000 feet and returned to Tallinn for a safe landing on Runway 08 approximately 15 minutes after departure.

The flight crew reportedly received an engine (CFM56) fire indication. In response the crew shut the engine down, and returned to Tallinn. The cause of the engine issue was revealed to be a bird strike after takeoff.

Bird strike after takeoff Tallinn

The carrier issued a statement saying: “The aircraft returned to Tallinn Airport shortly after takeoff because of a bird strike in Engine 2. After damage inspection, we can confirm that there was no indication of engine fire or any other engine-related problems during the incident.”

“The technical inspection has been completed, and as a result of the bird collision, the engines are not damaged, but 8 fan blades and a flap need to be changed,” the airline statement concluded.

Data from RadarBox shows the troubled A320 completing a right downwind circuit before landing safely on Runway 08. There were no reported injuries or casualties from the incident.

The aircraft involved

The aircraft involved, an Airbus A320 registered 9H-SLE has had quite an extensive career. The aircraft was originally delivered to Saudi carrier Nas Air (later Flynas) in April 2008. The Saudi carrier returned the aircraft from lease in December 2020.

Smartlynx Malta obtained the aircraft in May 2021, leasing the aircraft out to multiple carriers. These include Spanish LCC Volotea, Belgian charter airline TUI Belgium, and finally Nigerian carrier Air Peace who handed the aircraft back to Smartlynx in June 2023.

As of Monday 4 September, the aircraft was still on the ground at Tallinn. Flight 6Y555 / MYX555 from Tallinn to Tivat was operated on 2 September by a Boeing 737-800 under the Lithuanian leasing/charter airline Getjet Airlines.

By Lewis Dwyer 3 Min Read
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