Lightning hit 10 Finnair planes in mid-air late Wednesday during a thunderstorm over Finland, forcing several flights to return to Helsinki's Vantaa airport, the carrier said.
"Last night there was an exceptionally big thunderstorm with a lot of lightning between about 7:30 pm and 5:30 am. Ten of our planes were hit by lightning," Finnair spokeswoman Inka Ikonen told AFP.
"Four of them were so close to the airport that they turned back," she said.
Three of the planes were en route to Finnish destinations, while the fourth plane was a charter flight to the Greek vacation resort Chania.
The six other planes were heading for Helsinki when they were struck.
Vantaa airport operator Finavia told AFP no other airlines had reported any problems.
Finnair said it was conducting maintenance checks on all the affected aircraft.
"We always do a maintenance check after lightning has struck. If lightning strikes it strikes the frame of the airplane. We check that the frame is okay. That is standard procedure," Ikonen said.
The highly unusual thunderstorm also caused flight delays and cancellations on Thursday.
"The checking of the 10 planes caused some delays in the flight schedule. The passengers of these flights needed to be rerouted to the next flights," Ikonen said.
by Lachlan Carmichael
(c) 2011 AFP
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