On the 24th of November, a SAUDIA Airbus A330 and a Libyan Airlines A320 suffered substantial damage to their windshields and nose cone after flying through heavy rainfall and violent hailstorms over Jeddah.
The Saudi Arabian Airlines Airbus A330-300 with registration HZ-AQ25 was performing flight SV452 from Khartoum in Sudan to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. However, after encountering inclement weather over Jeddah, the aircraft entered into a holding pattern at a high altitude awaiting better weather to land in Jeddah. Initially, the aircraft descended to 11,000 feet for an approach but climbed back to 19,000 feet and continued to hold.
After holding for over 30 minutes, the aircraft repositioned itself for another approach and landed safely on Jeddah’s runway 16C about 45 minutes after entering the first hold. However, on its second approach, the aircraft encountered severe hail and turbulence causing damage to its windshield and nose cone as seen in the footage shared on the internet.
Also, a Libyan Airlines Airbus A320 encountered severe weather while departing out of Jeddah’s runway 16C around 1.5 hours before the Saudia incident, eventually returning to Jeddah.
The Airbus A320-200 with registration 5A-LAK was performing flight LN1257 from Jeddah to Benghazi, Libya. However, while the aircraft was climbing out of Jeddah, the A320 encountered a heavy storm and the crew stopped the climb after both windshields were damaged by the hail strike.
Flight LN1257 crew decided to immediately return to Jeddah but aborted the approach at about 2,000 feet and climbed again to 8,000 feet and subsequently entered into a hold at 5,000 feet, prior to landing while waiting for better weather. The aircraft eventually landed safely back in Jeddah about one hour after departure.
Following the incident, both the Airbus A330 and A320 were grounded in Jeddah and are awaiting maintenance before flying again.
According to the National Center for Meteorology, Jeddah recorded heavy rainfall in just a couple of hours that day and the airport had advised passengers that due to severe weather conditions, the departure of some flights had been delayed.