Lihue Airport Kauai

New Delta Plane Damaged At Kauai Amid Increased Hawaii Bird Strikes

This week’s latest news related to Hawaii flights was a bird strike on Monday. Delta Airlines flight 344 from Seattle to Lihue encountered one on arrival at Kauai.

Not only that, but on further checking, there have already been nine bird strike incidents on commercial airline Hawaii flights this year. At the same time, in 2023, more than 100 Hawaii bird strikes were impacting Hawaii passengers’ flights. That is according to the FAA. Bird strike incidents lead to flight cancellations, delays, and damage to aircraft, as was the case recently here on Kauai.

Delta A321neo’s nose was damaged in a bird strike incident on Kauai.

The plane was an Airbus A321neo, which Delta flies from Los Angeles and Seattle to Kauai, among other Hawaii destinations. The aircraft is virtually new, having entered service barely four months ago.

A bird strike occurred on the runway at Lihue Kauai.

The flight departed Seattle at 4:19 pm and landed in Lihue at 7:15 pm. The preliminary report indicates that the plane had its wheels on the ground and was moving on the runway when the strike occurred. Lihue has two asphalt paved runways designated 3/21 and 17/35. Each of these measures 6,500 x 150 ft.

That aircraft’s return flight to Seattle was subsequently canceled. On Tuesday, the same aircraft was returned to service and flew to Seattle.

“Aircraft Landed And Struck a Bird Damaging The Nose, Lihue, HI.”

FAA incident report per Av. Herald

Bird strikes, while infrequent, aren’t as unheard of as we might have thought in Hawaii.

They can damage various parts of an aircraft, such as the nose in this case. Depending on the size and speed of the bird, which information hasn’t yet been released, as well as the impact angle, the nose cone can sustain superficial dents and scratches or even become structurally damaged. We’d presume the damage was not structural because the aircraft returned to flight 24 hours later. In more severe cases, bird strikes to a plane’s nose can affect vital aircraft systems. Inspection and maintenance procedures were carried out after the bird strike to assess the damage, ensuring the safety of the aircraft for returning to Seattle.

Furthermore, bird strikes on landing planes are relatively rare. To help mitigate the risks, Hawaii airports employ various measures.

FAA database indicates 9 Hawaii airliner bird strikes so far this year.

We checked the FAA database and were surprised to find 21 incidents in 2024. Of those, however, only nine involved airlines. Of those incidents, the FAA reports that three aircraft sustained possible damage.

Kauai has long had more than its share of bird strikes, especially in relation to the relatively small number of flights in and out of Lihue Airport.

The nine Hawaii flights impacted so far in 2024 were as follows:

  • Lihue Airport: Southwest, United, and Delta Airlines.
  • Maui Airport: Hawaiian Airlines (2), and American Airlines.
  • Hilo Airport: Southwest.
  • Honolulu Airport: Hawaiian (2).

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4 thoughts on “New Delta Plane Damaged At Kauai Amid Increased Hawaii Bird Strikes”

  1. Having stayed at a Holiday Inn last night, I have a solution. Put a fine, heavy duty screen over the front of the engine. Problem solved!

  2. Hope more emphasis will be given to the “cause” ….less trees? This story reminds me of people who complain that deer hit their SUV…isn’t it the other way around? Birds and deer were here before those planes (and us!). Just check those maps that show how many planes are in the air at all times …quite scary!

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