An Emirates Boeing 777-300 aircraft returned to Milan, Italy after a severe hail damaged the fuselage during a flight to New York, the United States.
The incident happened on July 13, 2021. Emirates Boeing 777-300ER jet, registered as A6-ECF, took off for flight EK205 from Malpensa Airport (MXP), Italy, to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York. However, the aircraft did not reach the planned destination.
Minutes after the departure, the plane encountered a severe hailstorm which caused substantial damage to the jet nose and fuselage.
The flight crew of the aircraft instantly decided to return to Milan. However, the jet was fully fueled for the long-haul operation, so the pilots entered a holding pattern over MXP airport for around 90 minutes, the flight data from RadarBox.com shows. Once the aircraft burned enough fuel to avoid a hard touchdown, the Boeing 777 landed in MXP airport at 7.00 p.m. (UTC) with no further incidents.
Judging by photos found on social media, the encounter with hail resulted in two shattered pilot windscreens, a crack on the leading edge of the jet nose, and chipped off paint from several parts of the fuselage. Now the 13.5-year-old jet will have to undergo required maintenance checks and repairs before it is cleared to return to commercial operations.
Emirates Boeing 777-300 (A6-ECF) return to Milan-Malpensa Intl AP (LIMC), Italy following severe hail encounter shortly after take-off from rwy 17R. Both windshields were shattered. Flight #EK205 to New York-JFK safely returned to land 90 minutes later. @VolaMalpensa pic.twitter.com/kdQbPaHS32
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) July 13, 2021
The A6-ECF is one of 123 jets of the Boeing 77-300ER type in the Emirates fleet. The aircraft was involved in another incident in 2016 when it suffered a hydraulic leak while on a flight from Kolkata, India, to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. At the time, the jet continued the journey and safely landed at Dubai International Airport (DXB).