Thomas Cook Manchester-Egypt flight returns to airport after bird strike

Pilot declared 'general emergency' and returned to Manchester Airport

Thomas Cook Manchester-Egypt flight returns to airport after bird strike

A Thomas Cook flight from Manchester to Egypt had to return to the airport after the plane hit a bird upon takeoff.

It is thought a wood pigeon hit the fan blade of the plane shortly after takeoff at around 2.30pm on Wednesday 21 July.

See also: 15 flights we're glad we weren't on

The captain declared a general emergency and turned back to Manchester.

Passengers disembarked and waited at the airport for a replacement flight to Hurghada.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, a Thomas Cook spokesman said it was 'unlikely' passengers would have felt the strike and that the only damage was to the engine fan blade.

He said: "A bird hit the engine during takeoff and the captain chose to turn around.

"We are now investigating the damage, which will be repaired by our engineers to ensure it is fit to fly."

He added the passengers were provided with refreshments and food while they waited.

A Manchester Airport spokesman told the paper: "A Thomas Cook Airlines flight bound for Hurghada returned to Manchester Airport this afternoon following a suspected bird strike.

"It landed safely with 339 passengers and crew onboard."

In April, a judge at Manchester Crown Court found in favour of a Thomas Cook passenger whose flight from Antalya to Manchester was delayed by more than five hours after a bird strike.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Thomas Cook had refused to award compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004, arguing that a bird strike was an "extraordinary" circumstance for which it was not liable.

However, the district judge ordered the company to pay Mr Ash and four other passengers around £310 each.

He disagreed that a bird strike was an "extraordinary" circumstance.

Explaining his decision, he said: "For my part I observe that the word used is 'extraordinary' rather than 'unexpected', 'unforeseeable', 'unusual' or even 'rare'. 'Extraordinary', to me, connotes something beyond unusual. A motorway collision between two cars on a motorway is unusual but not extraordinary, whereas a motorway collision between a car, and say, a horse would be extraordinary.

"Bird strikes happen every day, in fact many times a day, and would hardly be worthy of comment but for the delay which they cause. They do not fall within the same category as a motorway collision between a car and my previous example of a horse, which would be extraordinary, for the simple reason that our skies are populated with birds, whereas our roads are not populated with horses."

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