A passenger jet that suffered damage during a hard landing at Shannon Airport last night has been grounded pending an examination by air accident inspectors.
A team from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) of the Department of Transport has been sent to Shannon to probe the incident.
Omni Air International flight OY-346 arrived at Shannon from Bangor in the US state of Maine shortly before 8pm last night. The civilian airline transports troops for the US military and is largest carrier of military personnel through Shannon.
According to sources, the Boeing 767-300ER jet ‘bounced’ on landing before touching down a second time ‘very heavy’. One source said the jet bounced 30 feet back into the air before landing. However, this has not been confirmed.
An airline spokesman said: "On March 8, 2020, Omni flight 346 experienced a hard landing in Shannon. The flight was operated on a 767-300 aircraft, N477AX. There were 11 crew members and 170 passengers onboard. There were no injuries to passengers or crew. The aircraft did not bounce off the runway as originally reported."
It is known that weather conditions in the area at the time were poor with turbulence reported also. It is understood the crew of the Omni flight and other aircraft were advised of the turbulence at the airport shortly before landing.
The aircraft landed shortly before 8am and was later parked on a remote taxiway where it was inspected by engineers and where it will also be examined by air accident investigators today.
Buckling of the forward fuselage could be seen stretching from one side to the other over the roof of the jet. The damage is understood to be ‘significant’.
An AAIU spokesman said: “The AAIU has been notified of an incident at Shannon Airport involving a US-registered Boeing 767-300ER which experienced a possible heavy landing during arrival at Shannon.
“The AAIU are deploying a team of inspectors to conduct an on-site examination of the aircraft. At this early stage in the process, there is no further information available.”
It is not known how many passengers and crew were travelling on board the jet but it is understood that no injuries were reported. The airline has been contacted for a comment.
An airport spokesperson confirmed an incident occurred but said operations at Shannon were not affected and that the runway did not sustain any damage.
Last August, operations were brought to a standstill at Shannon Airport after an Omni Air International jet had to be evacuated on the runway.
Air traffic controllers spotted a fire in the jet’s right side undercarriage and alerted the crew. The troops and crew were evacuated on the runway via the emergency slides.