An American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner, en route from Beijing to Dallas, had to return to Beijing Capital airport last week after suffering substantial hail damage shortly after take off.
USA Today reported about the incident (access here)
One of American Airlines’ brand-new Dreamliners was damaged by hail and had to return to Beijing shortly after takeoff Monday. The incident left what appeared to be a large dent in the jet’s nose area.
The damage looks substantial judging by the images that surfaced after the flight was back on the ground.
American Airlines has also released a statement related to this incident:
“American Airlines Flight 88, a flight from Beijing Capital International Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, returned to Beijing due to damage sustained by weather in flight. The Boeing 787, with 209 passengers and a crew of 13, is currently being evaluated by our maintenance team.”
This is not an isolated case. Late June, a Delta Airlines 747 was severely damaged by hail while flying though Chinese airspace. LoyaltyLobby reported about it here. The jet was subsequently replaced by an already decommissioned (but fit to fly) 747 that Delta called back into service.
While the number 8 is considered a ‘lucky number’ in China it can be argued if it can be applied in this case, the flight number being AA88. At least nobody was injured during this incident so that’s obviously a good thing.
While the damage looks severe and it certainly reason enough to abort the flight, at least it can be repaired so the aircraft is not a complete ‘write off’ just 2 months after being put into service.
Getting rebooked out of Beijing must have been a disaster in the making, the station is not the most competent within the American Airlines route network.