Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ahmedabad airport imports Rs 52 lakh grass mower to deal with bird strikes

With an aim to bring down bird hit incidents at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPI) to zero, airport officials have imported a machine, the first in India, that has high capacity grass cutting and collecting power with its adjustable height discouraging the birds on the runway.

The machine imported from Holland for Rs 52 lakh is extremely popular in the West, and known for maintaining local and international airports. It can cover 3-4 acres in an hour. The data revealed in an RTI reply by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on the number of bird strikes at SVPI mentions that between January 2015 and July 2016 there have been 70 bird strikes.

Manoj Gangal, Airport Director, said, "Though we had grass cutters, the same left on the surface would again attract birds. The new machine also collects eggs of the birds. We have also taken help from Anand Agricultural University for a spray that prevents grass from growing."

Gangal said, "We want the cut grass to be used in a unique product or something else and hence have taken help from National Institute of Design (NID) as they specialise in creativity." In 2010, Ahmedabad airport ranked third in India in being prone to bird hits. To scare away birds, airport authorities have been using firecrackers, reflecting films, zone guns and laser guns. Study at regular intervals have been carried out since past few years with the recent one by Gujarat Ecological Educational and Research Foundation that had found 41 species of birds in the vicinity of airport.

Among the recommendations, one of the most important one was to focus on dealing with red wattled lapwing (Titodi) along with Kites as they remain active even at night, posing threat to aircrafts.
26/10/17 Tanushree Bhatia/DNA
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