Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Air scare

New Delhi :At least two planes are struck every day in India by airborne birds or animals on runways, accidents that pose a serious risk to human lives and the aviation industry.
According to latest data obtained through the RTI law from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), more than 4,000 aircraft suffered wildlife strikes — hit by birds or animals — in about 80 airports over the past five years.
Such collisions increased substantially from 607 in 2012 to 839 in 2016.
The airports in New Delhi and Mumbai, the busiest in the country, report the maximum number of bird hits. Data show the Capital registered 135 cases in 2016, followed by Mumbai’s 72.
The growing incidence of bird strikes is the result of abundant availability of food in and around airports, which are buffeted by open grassland, ponds and human habitations that generate tonnes of leftover foodstuff.
“Thiruvananthapuram airport reported 28 cases of bird hits in six months because there are meat shops close to the airport. Considering the low plane traffic, the number is quite significant,” an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said.
The accidents spike during the rainy months from July to October.
“Small insects, food particles, water bodies that attract birds are found in abundance during the rainy season leading to increase in cases in monsoon,” said an official of the DGCA, the civil aviation regulator.
“In 2% cases, wild animals such as Nilgai, deer, wild boar and jackal sneak into airports, occupy the runaways and collide with planes.”
Breaches in the perimeter wall of airports in Kolkata, Amritsar, Varanasi and Jabalpur have attracted wild animals to runways. “This year we had three cases in Kolkata and two each in Amritsar and Varanasi,” the DGCA official said.
The accidents cause major and sometimes permanent damage to the aircraft, unnerve the crew and cost airlines substantial flying hours in repairs. Domestic airlines lost more than Rs 25 crore in 2014 to bird hits.
26/09/17 Kashmir Monitor