An Airbus A330-300 aircraft belonging to the German flag carrier Lufthansa is stranded in Nigeria after it reportedly collided with some sort of animal as it was accelerating for takeoff, causing damage to one of the two massive Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.
The nine-year-old aircraft had made a short stopover in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on October 31 as part of a scheduled service to Frankfurt, but the plane was so badly damaged that it has been stranded in Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport ever since.
According to information obtained by the trusted industry publication, the Aviation Herald, the aircraft collided with some sort of wild animal as it was hurtling along the runway for takeoff.
There are scant details about what actually happened nearly two weeks ago, but sources claim that along with one of the engines, there was also significant damage to the plane’s nose can and some of the flaps on the wings, which help generate lift during takeoff.
Thankfully, there were no reported injuries, but the damage to the engine was so extensive that it will reportedly require a complete replacement – a massive logistical headache for international airlines operating in Nigeria due to a lack of local maintenance expertise or available spare parts.
The primary method of transporting a spare engine for replacement is on the back of a flatbed truck, but that could be a very time-consuming and potentially dangerous journey in the case of getting a new engine to Abuja.
Depending on how long Lufthansa can afford to keep its damaged A330 sitting on the ground, it might want to airfreight a new engine and a team of engineers out to Abuja to get the plane back into revenue service as quickly as possible.
The engine could be carried in the hold of a special cargo airline or, potentially, on the wing of a Boeing 747.
As to the question of what kind of animal caused so much damage, the answer remains a mystery. The hot money, however, is that a flock of birds strayed on the airfield and weren’t spotted by the pilots or air traffic controllers.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.