Southwest Airlines Flight's Swift Response to Bird Strike Ensures Passenger Safety

On December 20, 2023, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX, with registration N8830Q, was taking off from New Orleans' runway 11 for its scheduled flight WN-554 to Tampa, FL (USA). However, while climbing, the aircraft encountered a bird strike into its left-hand engine (Leap), which caused an immediate halt in the climb at an altitude of 3000 feet. The flight crew promptly returned to New Orleans, and after about 12 minutes of departure, the aircraft landed safely.


The airplane had a total of 164 passengers and crew members on board when the incident took place. Following the bird strike, the airport's runways had to be temporarily closed to clear up the debris from the aircraft. Consequently, the airplane remained on the ground at the New Orleans airport for approximately 20 hours after landing back.

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To ensure the passengers reached their destination, a replacement Boeing 737-800 with registration N8501V was arranged by the airline, which eventually reached Tampa with a delay of almost 5 hours. The airline stated that the flight was struck by a bird, and the crew had to return to New Orleans to ensure the safety of the passengers and the aircraft.

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This incident highlights the significance of constant attention and care in aviation safety to prevent any potential threats to passengers, crew, and aircraft.

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