RIGA - Two airBaltic fights in the span of 24 hours were forced to return to Riga last week due to aircraft damage. No one was injured in both instances.
A flight bound for Copenhagen on Aug. 24 was forced to turn around after a crack developed in one of the cockpit windows. It was not clear how the crack appeared.
Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks was on board the flight en route to Oslo to participate in a meeting of Nordic and Baltic ministers and, as a result, missed the evening's gathering.
However, the foreign minister successfully made it to the meeting the next day, his spokeswoman said.
Then on Aug. 25 an airBaltic flight bound for Vienna was forced to make an emergency landing after a strip of the Fokker 50's tires was discovered on the runway.
Vija Dzerve, airBaltic's vice-president for communications, said the damage was with one of the tire's outer layers and that the aircraft could have successfully landed despite the defect.
Still, emergency rescue services were on hand during the plane's landing, the first such case in the airport's recent history, an airport spokesperson said.
It was not clear who discovered the strip of tire, though an airport official was quoted by the Baltic News Service as saying that airport personnel discovered the pieces.
Airbaltic belongs to the Latvian state (52.6 pct) and Scandinavian-owned SAS (47.2 pct).