A flight from Ireland to China this morning has been forced to return to Dublin Airport after an issue over the Irish Sea.
A flock of birds is believed to have struck flight EI-9018 shortly after it took off for Beijing, where it was due to collect crucial Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and bring it home.
The flight is one of ten that will fly to Beijing in order to pick up PPE supplies in the hope of combating the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland as part of a €208m deal.
Flight EI-9018, one of two heading to China today to pick up PPE, took off from Dublin Airport shortly before 11am on Monday morning but had to turn back after birds struck one of the plane's engines.
The plane landed safely at approximately 12.30pm, where engineers will examine the aircraft before deciding on a new departure time.
An Aer Lingus spokesperson said: "EI-9018 has returned to Dublin following a bird strike. Upon landing in Dublin it will be assessed by engineers and upon its clearance for travel a new departure time will be ascertained."
There were no passengers on board.