SWISS Boeing 777 Rejects Takeoff In Chicago After Hitting Flock Of Birds

SWISS Boeing 777 Rejects Takeoff In Chicago After Hitting Flock Of Birds


  • SWISS flight LX9 from Chicago to Zurich had to abort its takeoff due to a bird strike and had to be towed back to the gate.
  • The aircraft reached a ground speed of 130 knots before the takeoff was rejected, and thus, it is classified as a “High-Speed Rejected Takeoff.”
  • The airline organized accommodations and rebooked the passengers while the aircraft is being thoroughly examined for any damage caused by the incident.

Earlier this week, a SWISS International Air Lines flight bound for Zurich International Airport (ZRH) from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) had to reject its takeoff as the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER had a bird strike during its takeoff roll. The aircraft returned to the apron, and at the time of writing, the aircraft is still in Chicago.

The incident

SWISS flight LX9 is a daily service operated from ORD to ZRH, and the airline uses its fleet of 777s on this route. As reported by The Aviation Herald, the incident occurred on Friday, September 8th, and the aircraft involved is HB-JNL, which is a relatively young airframe with an age of 3 years.

Data from shows that the aircraft was on time with the pushback and had left the gate at around 19:15, after which the pilots proceeded for a lengthy taxi to Runway 09C, which it reached approximately 30 minutes later. Data indicates that the aircraft began its takeoff run and achieved a ground speed of 130 knots ground speed before the flight crew rejected the takeoff by heavily braking the aircraft.

Reports suggest that the reason behind aborting the takeoff was that the aircraft went through a flock of birds, which can be dangerous to the aircraft’s safety. After slowing down, the 777 returned to the apron. No injuries were reported onboard.

A statement from the airline spokesperson made to Simple Flying states,

“Flight LX9 ran into a flock of birds during its take-off roll in Chicago. The Boeing 777-300ER was on its way to Zurich. As a precautionary measure, the pilots decided to abort the take-off The brakes had heated up in the process and the airport fire brigade was called in to cool them down. There has been no fire. The aircraft was then towed to the gate, and SWISS organized accommodation for the passengers. All affected passengers could be rebooked on alternative connections. The Boeing 777-300ER is now being thoroughly examined. There were 316 passengers and 15 crew members on board. We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our guests.”

Disruptions caused

Considering the flight in question was cancelled, it is assured that the airline would face operational disruptions because they would have to make extra arrangements to get the passengers and crew to their original destination, Zurich, while also having to facilitate the repairs of any damage the aircraft could have sustained during the incident.

It is worth considering the possibility that Chicago is a hub for United Airlines, which is a fellow Star Alliance member of SWISS. Thus, United may be able to provide maintenance support for the grounded aircraft.

Apart from the airline, it is possible that the airport itself would have faced slight disruptions. Reports suggest that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a ground stop for half an hour, which resulted in a few inbound flights having to perform a go-around.

Considering that ORD is one of the busiest airports in the world due to heavy domestic and international traffic, it is possible that there could have been operational disruptions for a short period of time.

Have you ever experienced a rejected takeoff before? Let us know in the comments below.

Source:, The Aviation Herald.

  • Swiss Airbus A330-343 HB-JHJ (3)
    Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Zurich Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Airline Group:
    Lufthansa Group

    Dieter Vranckx


  • US-airlines-government-support
    Photo: Chicago O’Hare International Airport

    Chicago O’Hare International Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    United States

    Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner Jamie Rhee

    Passenger Count :
    54,020,339 (2021)

    Runways :
    4L/22R – 2,286m (7500 ft) |4R/22L – 2,461m (8075 ft) |9L/27R – 2,286m (7500 ft) |9C/27C – 3,428m (11,245 ft) |9R/27L – 2,428m (7,967 ft) |10L/28R – 3,962m (13,000 ft) |10C/28C – 3,292m (10,801 ft) |10R/28L – 2,286m (7500 ft)

    American Airlines, United Airlines

    Terminal 1 |Terminal 2 |Terminal 3 |Terminal 5

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