One of Jetstar's Boeing 787-8s has been grounded after sustaining major lightning damage during a voyage in early May. The fuselage of the aircraft was damaged by lightning, leaving burn marks, blistered paint, and a slew of small holes. The damage was discovered after the aircraft landed, and Jetstar claims that the plane or its passengers were never in danger.
Further investigation found that the damaged plane is VH-VKL, a seven-year-old Boeing 787-8 that was flying Jetstar's daily JQ444 route from Melbourne to Coolangatta on May 7. That flight heads north, usually passing just west of Australia's southeast coast, and as inhabitants of that region know, the weather has been particularly bad in recent weeks.
The fuselage of the Dreamliner suffered significant damage along the route. The news organisation was able to obtain video of a post-landing check. That footage is now being shared on social media. On the underside of the fuselage, there are many substantial burn marks, blistered paint, and what appear to be scores of small holes created by lightning strikes.
The plane has been parked at OOL since the incident. Jetstar said its engineers are still assessing the extent of the damage, and the jet might be out of service for up to two months. Jetstar further emphasises that "at no point was the safety of the aircraft compromised."