Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Pulling rabbits off the airport tarmac

Ahmedabad: "Kutte pe jab sassa aaya, Ahmed Shah ne shaher basaya." (Ahmed Shah founded the city where the hare turned on the dog). It looks like the myth about Ahmedabad's foundation is taken very seriously by officials at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) when they allowed small rabbits to endanger a large commercial aircraft, carrying more than 100 passengers.
On Friday night, pilot of an IndiGo flight from Bangalore to Ahmedabad landed but did not clear the runway, as they spotted a rabbit on the taxiway. The Ahmedabad-Delhi SpiceJet flight carrying 142 passengers, was given take-off clearance, but was told to abort takeoff in the nick of time.
After risking the lives of passengers, airport officials say they have "sensitized" their staff and that of various airlines. However, it does not appear that they have initiated concrete action to ensure that animals are not allowed to endanger flights.
A K Sharma, director of SVPI airport called the incident one of the "rarest" and said, "What can be done in such an incident. We have become more vigilant after the incident. It was a rare occurrence that had happened on Friday. It has never happened in the near past, or it must have happened long ago."
"Our staff in the air operations area are have been sensitized to be more vigilant. There is hardly any remedy for rabbits because they hide in small places and they are easily seen. Staff will be more vigilant in the area. Our operational area is fully packed and sealed and there is no chance of ingress of any animal from the outside," added Sharma.
Highly places sources in the city airport said that while rabbits are rare, the city airport is a vulnerable to other animals like dogs and monkeys.
01/03/17 Times of India