Delta Air Lines Boeing 767 pummeled by hail in Italy returns to the US 

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767, which was severely damaged by hail, returned to the US more than two weeks later after the incident
Austin Deppe /

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-300ER returned to the United States (US) after it was grounded for several days after it suffered extensive damage from hail. 

The twin-aisle aircraft, registered as N189DN, returned to Delta Air Lines’ main hub of Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) on August 7, 2023, after spending more than two weeks on the ground at Rome Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport (FCO). 

It was at the Italian capital’s airport since July 24, 2023, where it was forced to divert after the Boeing 767-300ER overflew a hailstorm, resulting in extensive damage to the fuselage, including a punctured radome. 

On that day, it was operating Delta Air Lines flight DL185 from Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Shortly after departing MXP, it turned and diverted to FCO, squawking 7700 for a general emergency onboard about an hour after departure. 

Pictures shared on Twitter showed that apart from the punctured radome, the hail also damaged the aircraft’s wings, as well as one of the engine spinners. 

Boeing delivered the 767-300ER to Delta Air Lines in February 1997, with the aircraft having flown a total of 112,627 flight hours (FH) and 16,592 flight cycles (FC) as of May 31, 2023, according to data. 

Repairing damaged aircraft 

This was not the first time that Delta Air Lines chose to restore significantly damaged aircraft back to service. In August 2019, one of the airline’s Boeing 757, registered as N543US, suffered extensive fuselage damage after landing at Aeroporto João Paulo II (PDL), Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal. 

The aircraft flew back to the US in September 2019, and returned to commercial service by December 2019. However, during the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the aircraft was sent to storage at San Bernardino International Airport (SBD). 

But the Boeing 757’s light at the end of the tunnel never dimmed, with the aircraft still successfully operating flights for Delta Air Lines up until July 15, 2023. Then, it was sent to Jacksonville Cecil Airport (VQQ) from ATL. 

According to data, the aircraft is currently undergoing maintenance there. It was delivered new to Northwest Airlines in May 1996, with Delta Air Lines acquiring the carrier via merger in 2008. 

author avatar
Rytis Beresnevicius
Journalist[br][br]Rytis is a journalist in AeroTime’s editorial team, based in Vilnius, Lithuania. Originally joining the team in 2018, in 2021 he then went onto work in content creation in the logistics and IT sectors, before returning to AeroTime in 2022. He studied media and communications in both Denmark and
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