BEIRUT: A Middle East Airlines plane crashed into birds during its trip from Beirut to Abu Dhabi, an airport source told The Daily Star Wednesday, leading it to delay its return to Lebanon for almost 13 hours.
Flight 419 is expected to arrive back to Beirut at noon. The flight was supposed to depart from Abu Dhabi Tuesday 9:30 p.m, but after having collided with the birds, the aircraft was not allowed to depart again until a full inspection was conducted.
The airport source said Airbus had cleared the aircraft’s return departure after running the full check on it.
The source said it remains unclear at which point during its journey the plane hit the birds, but emphasized that the bird repellers at the airport are all working.
In 2017, authorities had installed additional bird repellers at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport to drive away circling birds. Environmentalists said then that the nearby Costa Brava landfill had attracted birds to the areas near the airport.
The source also could not say how many birds the aircraft smashed into.